We spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer. Up until last year I never sat down once when I was there. I would lug chairs, towels, lotions, toys, swim diapers, etc. and then I would run around, covered in sand and sweat, chasing two little boys all day. I would dig holes, take rocks and sand out of mouths, and most importantly prevent drowning. It’s exhausting. I’m tired.
These kids need to learn how to fend for themselves, and SWIM – so I can sit in a chair and read US Weekly, and look up occasionally……Is that too much to ask?
We sent both kids to about 5 or 6 costly sessions of lessons in hopes that they would learn to swim at an early age. My husband and I did “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” to see who would get in a bathing suit and splash around during the “Parent and Me” lessons, and we were out about $500 before we realized we were getting nowhere fast. If they both got tossed in a pool they would sink like a bag of rocks.
Last summer, Michael finally could stay afloat and do the doggy paddle. When we went away this spring, he jumped right into the pool, no problem. I was busy putting SPF on Sam with my back to the pool and Sam started laughing and said nonchalantly, “Look at Michael….he’s drowning.”
What do you know – he was fully drowning.
Into the pool I went to save him with my clothes on.
“This is bullshit!” I screamed at my husband shortly after I saved our child’s life, as he leisurely arrived at the pool, while I stood drenched in my clothes. While I was putting sunscreen on the kids, blowing up inflatables until I passed out, saving people’s lives and getting the beginning of a sunburn because I spent a half hour taking care of the kids instead of protecting myself from the sun, my husband “had to go to the bathroom.” Please note all that occurred during the time that he spent on one trip to the bathroom.
“Why? What happened?” he said incredulously holding a beer and a copy of Men’s Health.
“Michael drowned!” I screamed.
“Really? I thought he could swim…”
“Well apparently he forgot.” I said with disgust.
Michael was listening to the conversation – floating on a tube in the pool, completely recovered from the traumatic event. He said casually, “Mom, you should be a lifeguard.”
“I don’t want to be a lifeguard! You guys have to swim!!” I yelled hysterically.
So fast-forward to May, time to pull out the big guns. There is a swimming school 20 minutes from us that operates a very intense and expensive program. For over $400 for 2 kids, every night for 2 weeks, they promise you 2 swimming children.
I signed up for lessons that started at 6:30 for Sam and 7:30 for Michael. Insane? YES!!!!
I thought – “OK – it will be a rough 2 weeks and it will be worth it.”
First off – this place is in a huge glass building and parents are not allowed inside during lessons. We are allowed to watch from outside through patches of condensation on the glass to see if we are getting our money’s worth. Well of course, lessons started 2 weeks ago when it literally RAINED EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. So there I am each night drenched, miserable, with one child hanging on me telling me they are cold, staring at the clock waiting for the lessons to be over. One night it was thundering and lightening, and my husband tried to come in the building and they made him go wait in his car!! SWIMMING NAZIS!
Also, because its 20 minutes away, by the time we took showers and got home each night, it was a little before 9. To say the kids were tired is a huge understatement. We haven’t been to the bus stop in 2 weeks, and everyone was on edge, and could very easily be reduced to tears at any moment.
Oh – and wait, don’t let me forget the best part! Sam started each morning when he woke up by opening his eyes and bursting into tears, saying “I don’t want to go to swimming tonight!” He actually cried throughout 7 out of 10 lessons. I would peek in and see him with his hands on the edge of the pool practicing his kicking just hysterically crying. There I am, out $450, plus hundreds more on gas, exhausted and this kid is inconsolable.
More than once I thought I had made a huge mistake all in the name of sitting down on the beach, but we trudged along.
One morning I was at the end of my rope, and Sam was doing his morning routine.
“I hate swimming!” he screamed, “I am never going to swim! NEVER!!” he yelled through tears.
I lost it.
“You ARE going to swim!!!” I yelled, “And not only that you had better be Michael Phelps when this is over!” I screamed in his face.
He just looked at me blankly for a couple of seconds and then started crying again.
Friday was our last night – thank you Jesus. Parents were actually invited in! Do you know that both kids calmly walked down this long diving board, waved to me, jumped into 9 feet of water, popped up and swam to their teacher!!
It was a MIRACLE!!!! It’s not Olympic worthy – but if I can even read the “Stars – they are just like Us” page of US Weekly I’m going to be one happy girl.
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Reposted for Adventures in Mommyhood