Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Me on DadCentric: Swim Lessons

Two weeks ago today, I dragged my ass out of bed at 5:30 to crank up the old laptop and log onto a website that seemed to have been built in the same era as the timeworn public pool where I was trying to get my twin girls into swim lessons.  With the right combination of clicking "refresh", logging out and logging back in again, and muttering swear words, I successfully secured two of the six available spots within minutes of registration opening.
Since the girls recently turned three, I enrolled them in the Tiny Tots class, which requires parents to stay the hell out of the pool, and, in fact, behind a chain-link fence in an observation area where they can't interfere with the lessons.

On Day One, my kids made it clear that this arrangement was unacceptable, and clung to my legs so that I had to stagger into the no-parents zone in order to get them near the water.  The staff made an exception for us, which was a little embarrassing, but not as bad as a full-blown meltdown and abject swim lesson failure.

Despite my kids being the scaredy-cats of the group (give them a break: they are the youngest and most coddled smallest), the first class went way better than I  had dared to hope.  Twin A (aka Cobra), the one who regularly leaps into the pool without any warning at our friends' house and doesn't panic when we take a few seconds to fish her out, sat on the pool steps with the four other little ones and allowed herself to be pulled around and floated on her back by her teacher, a big Polynesian-looking dude with dreads, gauges in his ears, and a scraggly goatee.  This wasn't very surprising, given her enthusiasm for splashing around in the pool.  But she's usually pretty suspicious of strangers, so it could have gone either way.

It was Twin B (Butterbean) I was worried about.  She loves playing in our friends' pool too; but whereas her sister will launch herself in my general direction regardless of the distance between us, Butterbean demands with more than a tinge of desperation in her voice, "Don't be far away!" when I try to get her to swim to me, and refuses to let go of the edge unless I'm touching her hands.

Oh my gosh!  What happens next?  Click here to read the rest on DadCentric!


  1. I had my middle one in the pool at a month old, the other two were in the water around 6 mos... I was amazed how the middle one knew to close her mouth once she hit the water... The younger you start them, the better off they are.. The older they get, that is when the fear seems to set in, either they sense it from others or the fact they are so smart and realize what they will be doing is so unfamiliar sets in the fear for some.

  2. Our daughter loves going to the pool and has done parented swimming lessons. This summer we enrolled her in unparented lessons, but then took her out and put her in ones which are more of a transition level between parented and unparented. Based on her personality, I'm pretty sure she would not have gone into the pool on her own towards a strange adult and a bunch of strange kids. We're hoping these ones will help.

    We've also enrolled her in ballet lessons which start in the fall and I nervous as to how those will go. They are unparented lessons. I have a feeling if we're there watching her she'll just keep running over to us or asking us to join her. But if we just take her there and drop off her in a completely new environment, it will be a disaster too. I guess we'll see what happens. Maybe she'll surprise us.


Don't hold back.


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