My son’s first time in the pool was a giant hit; at seven months old, he took to the water like it was second nature. Last summer he stared incredulously at the little kids who screeched in the pool…and this summer, the screeches are coming from him!
I thought I was doing everything right – we picked a small swim school with great reviews and small classes. We talked about the lessons, watched older kids, and practiced at home. The first lesson showed him to be lukewarm about swimming, but he found some delight and was eager to participate in most activities. Week two, however, was a giant fail with screeching, shouting, and tears (both his in the pool and mine as we were changing).
And you know that despite those tears and shouts to leave the pool, he begged to go back in as soon as we were out and the next class was getting in.
I pleaded with the teacher at the end of the class to give me something magical to help him next time (I will have to remember that moment of desperation when a parent comes to me with the same look during the school year); she smiled, told him he swam great today, and told me to keep bringing him back.
The thing is, I felt like I failed him. It felt like I didn’t know who he was – I thought he’d love the pool, but I was wrong. And then I felt like I failed him because I wouldn’t let him get out of the pool when he clearly wanted to. Most of all, I felt guilty that the thought crossed my mind that we were paying $18 for these 30 minutes and dangit, he didn’t even go down the slide!
He asked me in the locker room why I was sad as tears streamed down my face. I never cry, so it was even more frustrating that this was making me cry. I felt so guilty. But next week we will put our swimsuits back on (by the way, Miracle Suits do amazing things for mama bodies!) and cross our fingers that it will go better. It’s bound to someday!