Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our first swimming lesson...

Do you remember taking swimming lessons as a kid? I sure do.

I can't remember exactly how old I was, but I remember I was pretty little. Five or six, maybe?--I'll have to ask my mom. What I remember most is the day it came time to jump off the diving board. A day I had dreaded.

My lessons were at our little town's country club and I remember all the mothers would sit up on the patio in the shade and watch us. There were several kids in my swim class and our swim teacher was a younger guy (probably in college). I remember he was missing a leg, maybe from a car accident or something, but I remember when it came my turn to jump off the diving board, my heart was pounding wildly! In my head I remember thinking, "Oh NO! I'm not about to jump off this board into that dark and scary deep end to a guy who only has one leg!" "I'm going to drown for sure!" (Mind you I was young and scared. No offense intended.) And so I turned around and walked right off the diving board, past all my friends in the swim class.

And then I remember hearing this voice yelling from the patio, "Jennifer Diane--you get back on that board and you jump!" My mom, of course. Argh!! Well, I had no choice at this point. It was possible death by the diving board or face my mama--I chose the diving board. And so I sulked my way back to the diving board, all the other kids and moms just watching me. The pressure was even greater this time because I was the only kid who hadn't jumped off the board and now that I had caused such a scene--they were all waiting in anticipation, wondering what I was going to do.

I looked up at my mom one last time (hoping she had changed her mind and might be walking down with my towel giving me the okay to skip this part of the lesson)...but nope, that wasn't the case. She just continued to give my that motherly look, as if she were saying..."You can do this---You WILL do this." (A look I have now come to know and master now that I am a mother myself...ha..ha! )

And so I walked to the edge of the diving board, shaking like crazy and my teeth chattering up a storm. I asked my swim teacher, "Now you're sure you are going to catch me?" He was smiling this big 'ole smile and said, "Yes, Jennifer--you'll be jump!" And so I did--and landed right on his head. But he being the tough guy he was and me being the lightweight kid I was...we survived without injury. He had a strong hold of me and helped me swim to the edge of the pool. And said, "See, that wasn't that bad was it?" I just smiled and hopped out of the pool and ran back to the diving board with my friends ready to jump again. I wasn't afraid any more. Mom knew best after all.

An important lesson I had to learn and I'm so grateful mom made me go through with it. That summer I learned how to swim like a fish and have never stopped loving it.

And now, I have the chance to experience swimming lessons on the other side of the a mom. The local university has a great swimming program...I heard about from some other moms, so I decided to register Noah. He had his first swim class this week. On the drive over, I could tell he was starting to get nervous. He began to ask a lot of questions about who the teacher was, was she nice, would she make him go under the water and all other sorts of questions. I explained to him how much fun mommy had when she was his age and learned how to swim (of course, I didn't dare share my diving board experience!). He seemed to be doing okay until it was time to take his shirt off and get into the pool.

The swim program is run by the University's Swim Director, Coach Karen. She prefers that all parents sit on the outer edge of the pool, under the covered patio area...basically out of plain sight of our children. A very wise choice on her part...especially for my little man.

They prefer for all the kids to wear goggles...but I knew this would be a battle for our little guy. He hates anything to be on his head or face. Has never liked wearing any type of mask. The swim teachers learned real quickly, he wasn't going to cooperate with wearing the goggles.

But they continued to try and coax him for a few minutes...but it was a no-win battle. The goggles were put aside for another day.


The next hurdle was trying to get him into the pool.

Right after I took this picture, he crossed his arms and said, "No! I'm not getting in there." At this point I start to stress and panic. I was thinking to myself, do I go in there and tell him to do what they tell him to do, but I decided to just stay back and let them handle it. I sat back and continued to watch on pins and needles. ;-)

The lifeguards decided to make it a game...they placed some rings on the steps of the pool and had him step down and grab them. This was a great idea...he eased into the pool to get them on his own.



But then he slipped and his face got wet, and the game wasn't fun for him any more.

So the lifeguards called in the big guns...Coach Karen. Let me just tell ya, this lady ROCKS!!
She is so positive, peppy and encouraging with the kids. And she didn't waste anytime in getting him in that water.

First swimming lesson
He cried...and cried...and cried some more, but Coach Karen didn't let this dissuade her. She continued to calm him and reassure him that he was just fine. She joked with him, sang ABC's with him and slowly, he began to cry less and less.

First swimming lesson1

First swimming lesson2
Notice the little grip he kept around her head throughout most of the lesson. I was just cracking up watching him. Ever so often I'd hear him say, "Are we done yet?" and "I'm tired Coach Karen"...but they pressed on and by the end of the lesson, he seemed a little more comfortable being in the water and letting her splash his face. This was a huge first step for our little guy.

First swimming lesson3

I was one proud mama at the end of the lesson and Noah seemed pretty proud of himself, too. In fact, he walked around the pool giving Coach Karen and all the other swim coaches high-fives. They all got a kick out of this. It was a priceless moment for me to watch.

We still have a few more weeks of swim lessons to go...I'm hoping he'll be swimming like a fish by the end of the summer.

And who knows, maybe he'll be braver than his mama when it comes time to jumping off the diving board. ;-)



  1. Oh, my does this bring back memories of Lauren and her days of swimming lessons. Ann Bates was never able to get her to jump into the pool, let alone off the diving board!

    Little Man will be just fine. Love your posts...and all your blogging tips! :)

  2. Jennifer, I just gave you a Versatile Blogging Award. Head on over to my blog to grab it!

    P.S. I'm overcome with an urge to go swimming.


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