July 26, 2008

my little fish

For the past few days, John has been taking Finn and Calvin to swim lessons. After just 2 days, a pattern was developing: Finn would wake up *sick* every morning saying "Sorry mommy, I can't go to swim lessons today". And then Calvin starts piping in "I'm sick too, I can't swim". I could not believe my boys were already learning to play hooky. In the car ride over, they tell John they are going to empty the pool of water and fill it with wood instead.

They have to be pried off the bleachers to get in the pool.

And surprisingly, Calvin, my carefree adventure boy, was doing worse than Finn. I'm told that he pretty much cries the whole 30 minutes, while Miss Bre just carries him around. And Finn? That boy is something else, with his excuses and complaints.

"I can't jump off the wall. I'm stuck", Finn insisted, not budging from the wall. Crying and trembling like a drenched Chihuahua.
But his instructor, Miss Bailey, takes no nonsense and makes him comply with her orders. So although he was a most resistant participant, at least he was making some progress. Back at home, the boys are smiling and exaggerating about how well they did. Finn tells me he jumps off the wall and is just like one of those crazy kids, jumping off the blob at Hume. All this talk. Unbelievable, John says.

So I just had to see for myself what was really going on. However, the next day swim lessons are cancelled for the day due to "contamination". Bummer! In the meanwhile, I got a preview, when we took them to our bible study/pool party the next night. Calvin was crying so hysterically at the idea of swimming, there was absolutely no reasoning with him. And Finn was acting a little spooked. At one point, he was in the shallow end, on the gently sloped "beach front" entry. His stomach was lying on the slope and he was kicking his legs and flapping his arms like a beached whale. Insisting that he was swimming. Oh dear. At least he was trying, so I clapped for his attempts. When Calvin saw this, he dipped his foot in the water and started kicking it, claiming that he was swimming too. He looked quite pleased that he solved the mystery of how to swim from dry land.

Yesterday I finally got to witness the real deal at swim lessons. While John was taking Calvin potty, Miss Bailey called Finn into the water. He backed away from us onto the bleachers like a caged animal. Things were getting ugly. With Ollie on my hip, I yanked Finn off the bleachers and gave him to Miss Bailey. And much to my horror, he started screaming for the entire pool to hear "I have to go poop! I have to go poop!". The parents were probably worried that the pool was going to get contaminated again. I could have died. And he was totally bluffing. Thankfully, Miss Bailey bargained with Finn and let him go potty if he jumped under water first. Smart, smart girl, she is.

A few minutes later, both boys were back in the water, crying and shaking. Swimming is definitely not our strong suit.

Since we were already a spectacle, I grabbed my camera and started documenting this oh-so-glamorous phase of our life. So there I am, with my big ole' camera, obnoxiously cheering the boys on in a high-pitched voice.

And guess what? It worked.

Calvin, the never-ending crier/clinger bravely jumped off the wall, all by himself, for the very first time.

As soon as his head bobbed above water, he searched frantically for his cheering audience of one. I felt like I finally came in handy. I informed John that I was a crucial part of this family after all:)

And when Finn saw all the positive attention Calvin was getting, he too started jumping off the wall, trying to swim around. And like Calvin, he looked around desperately for my applause. The rest of the lesson went fairly well, with the boys crying a little here and there, but nothing like before. Calvin finally made a little progress and Finn made some major progress. I actually saw, with my own 2 eyes, a sight I thought I'd never see. His whole body was submerged, with arms and legs moving toward the wall.

WAS THIS SWIMMING????? I'm not 100% sure, but it's definitely a start. Afterwards they had suckers and were happy as clams.

And John had to drag me and my camera away from pool area, which was decked out in festive Christmas garb. I could have stayed another hour.

I'll be back Monday. It's my turn to take the boys next week. I'm sure it will be ground hogs day again, with the boys faking sick. Hopefully it will go well!


  1. Ok, I know I'm a little (ok, under exaggerating) hormonal over here, but I actually welled up with tears when I read about your cheering them on and how it worked! Having been a swim teacher, know that you did nothing wrong- it's not like you started them at the wrong age or anything- fear of the water starts sooooo young. And having taught young ones, there is ALWAYS 1 out of a class of 4 or 5 who is TERRIFIED. And good for you for not giving into the sick pleas! That pool does look really nice, I'm confused by the Christmas decor though!

  2. Davi, I was thrilled with the progress! Keep going, it's all about constant exposure. Tacy is even making headway. Our boys are too much:)

  3. They are so sweet! My daughter did fantastic with swim lessons. She started right after she turned 3. Not once did she cry. My son on the other hand still hates to be in the water. He does great at the Y but not so much anywhere he can't touch the bottom.

    Good luck! I hope they are better for you next week! :)

  4. oh your boys are just too much! I love how you aren't afraid to be embarrassed and cheered your boys on-even if you were the only one! you're a great mama davi, and a VERY important part of your family=)

    love ya

  5. Hey, if it makes you feel any better, I acted just like Finn at age 3. I would scream and cry and say my thumb hurt, my tummy hurt, everything hurt, and I even threw up in the pool. But guess what? I ended up being on the swim team, then later I taught swim lessons myself. There's hope! :-D

  6. oh how funny. This so reminds me of Emma the first time we took her for lessons-- she cried and cried and cried. I think it wasn't until the end of the two weeks that she actually warmed up to it a bit. Now, she LOVES the pool.
    Your comment about being a crucial part of the family cracked me up-- only because it is simply ridiculous to think that it could be otherwise!! Silly girl. :) I loved how your boys responded to your cheering-- hooray!

    What is the deal with the Christmas decor? I'm a bit confused too...

  7. hee hee, not sure what was up with the tacky Christmas decor...and call me crazy, but i loved it. made me feel like i was at some funky camp where they won spirit points. or perhaps i am just plain weird, cuz i really did not notice it was that odd until Megan and Talia mentioned it...maybe i have been watching too much AD and my idea of normal is now permanently compromised:) yah, that must be it!

    And c'mon, who doesn't love Christmas in July??!!

  8. Oh Davi, this brings me back to my swim instructor days. Really that job is what convinced me to become a teacher. I always felt that the best way to get a reluctant little one to swim was 1. peer pressure and 2. REALLY loud cheering. Sounds like these worked for your boys too. :)

    You're such a great cheerleader and encourager!

  9. Hee hee, how sweet and cute is it that they would do something they are so scared of to impress Mommy? Great post and I hope this week goes smooth for ya!

  10. Okay, this post was hilarious! My oldest has pulled the "I have to POOP!" card during times of fear (or boredom, ugh) as well and I know the feeling of wanting to just disappear, faint, or do anything to be anywhere but right there where your precious child is bluffing and yelling loudly about a fake bodily function emergency.

    They are so, so cute! And that's so sweet and so fun that they progressed so much in one lesson after seeing and hearing their mommy cheer for them!