Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Father Of The Year - Swim Lesson Edition

Summer is here and it is time for camps, picnics, museums, and...SWIM LESSONS. I had swim lessons as a child as. I don't remember much about them. I remember using the well chewed up, red, tombstone shaped kick boards that reeked of chlorine. I vaguely remember rocking the late 70's early 80's super short swim trunks with white piping around the edges. Still waiting for those to make a comeback. But I don't really ever remember being too scared. I might has been a little nervous, but thats about it. Even my experience with Big Z could never have prepared me for the epic meltdown that has occurred over the last 2 weeks with our smallest ball of fire, Little P.

The first day of the ordeal started off quite well, Big Z had really help me get Little P pumped up for his first day of his lessons. As we entered the pool area and Little P could not wait to get into the water. He kept asking me when it was going to be his turn to get in the pool. I was feeling pretty good, my world was about to be rocked. I walked him over to his instructor and helped him get into the pool and as I took me seat I was feeling rather full of myself. He was all smiles and couldn't seem to stop waving at his "big bubber". My heart filled with pride as he held on to his float assist bar (nope, that is what they called it) and kicked his little fat legs like a pro. I even advised the woman next to me not to worry. I told her that her child would get over her fear of the water and would be having a great time before she knew it. After all, my little 3 year old was having the time of his life...that is about the time that the "fit hit the shan". (Trying to keep this blog PG after all) Little P's instructor told him to get out of the water and to jump back into the water to her. I thought, great he should love that, because that is one of his favorite things to do with his Mom and I. But what I failed to consider is the fact that the instructors want the kids to get their faces wet when they jump in, most parents try not to do that when their kids jump to them. So, as my once happy go lucky preschooler resurfaced to the air that I am sure that he thought he would never see again, he let out a scream that I am quite sure to this day still has dogs in the next county barking. Little P then began to wail and sob like I had never heard or seen him do before. But, lucky for us the lesson was over and it was time to go home. As I dried off my slobbering little man I was sure that this would just blow over and all would be well at the next lesson...right?

I should have known that things had forever changed when Little P began to ask every couple of hours if he had swim lessons that day. I just thought that his little person's brain just didn't have the space for such useless information. I couldn't have been more wronger. (As one of our little neighborhood friends always says) The day of the next lesson Little P asked about the impending swim lessons about 2 hours before it was time and I told him he had them that day. (Cue the dramatic music) He then began to wail like I have just dropped a brick on his foot. This wailing continues for the next 2 hours...while dressing him...while putting him in the car...while driving him to said torturous lesson, it just never stopped. Nothing I, or his brother could say would help him. As I handed his clinging, flop sweating body over to his instructor, he clawed a 2 inch layer of skin off of my forearm. As I took my seat he was screaming, "Daddy! Noooo!" And that is when the looks started...let me back up. You see, during the summer, most parents are at work. There are a few stay at homes around but the bulk of the adults there are, wait for it...Grandmothers. And as we know there isn't another creature on this planet that is more caring, more protective, more forgiving than a Grandmother. And they all began to look at me like I was the most wretched, vile human being that they had ever laid eyes on. But I stuck to my guns, and said a few encouraging words to my littlest son, who in between crying and screaming my name, told his instructor that he "was mad at her". I knew that this might be the longest 30 minutes of my life. As the lesson wore on, I could feel all those little chocolate chip cookie making, boo boo kissing eyes staring at me. When the lesson finally and mercifully came to an end, his quivering little wet body walked toward me. As I carried his damp quivering little body to the locker room, I felt the eyes of a thousand Grandmothers staring at me. After much loving on, and one large milkshake, all was forgiven.

But I was determined that Little P wouldn't be a quitter and he would finish what he started. I wouldn't let judging Grandmotherly eyes soften my resolve to teach my child to swim. So the day of the next lesson arrived and I gathered his swimwear and got his change of clothes ready walked and up to Little P, he asked if he had swim lessons that day, I said yes. I saw the big tears begin to form in his eyes and his little voice quivered as he said, "Daddy me don't want to go, me scared."

We have not been back since...

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