Thursday, June 18, 2009

Swimming School Dropout

This week, the Z-man began a series of private swim lessons at the "new gym" (this is it's name around here, even between MrRuckus and myself).  Their schedule for group lessons didn't work for us, and we know that the Z-man does not like to be taught anything.  At all!  First of all, this kid is stubborn (must get that from his dad).  When he makes up his mind about something, there is no budging him.  Secondly, he is a bit if a wuss.  Third of all, he hates to try new physical skills. And, fourth, he is completely uncoordinated.  As in could not jump with two feet off of the ground until last month (he is 3 and a half!)

So, for swimming, we knew that us trying to teach him was only going to be a battle of wills and that, because at some point he is bound to win the battle, it should not be about swimming.  Thus, I signed him up for a package of six private lessons.  He loves to be in the pool, so I thought that he was going to actually do really well at it.  I didn't think that he would be skilled like my friend K's son, who is turning 4 this month and can already do the butterfly, but I was hopeful for a head under and a doggy paddle.

Until Tuesday's class, every time the Z-man goes in the pool, he has worn a flotation vest.  This has worked extremely well for us as he is very buoyant in it and has the confidence to flutter kick his little legs around the pool.  We even moved him this year to a less buoyant vest and he is able to stay (mostly) above the water.  So, on Tuesday he went into the pool with the instructor and sank like a stone.  Seriously!  Some kids are floaters and some are stones. That kid is a boulder!

But, for a half an hour, I watched Z and his instructor kick around the pool and tried to stay out of it and let them do their thing. (Is it bad that I was admiring this teenager's tanned, defined torso and not paying much attention to much else?  Bad Mommy!)  At the end of the lesson, the instructor told me that he has to work on floating on his back in order for him to learn to swim.

So, yesterday afternoon MrRuckus and I brought the Z man and the Little Ladybug into the pool.  9 month old ladybug loves the pool. Kicks her little feet and squeals with delight.  Loves to go on her back, even tolerates being splashed in the face.  The Z-man?  Not so much.  Only wants to push his toys around the water.  We both tried so hard to get him to float on his back but he screamed and would not release his vice grip on our necks.  We put him on a pool float to lie back and you would have thought we were waterboarding him.  Yet he was willing to try to swim a few feet under water, kicking like mad, to get from one of us to the other.  Go figure!

Fast forward to this afternoon's class.  First, the instructor decided to use the inside pool as there would be fewer distractions.  (Damn!  Then I couldn't stare at him!)  So, I took the Ladybug outside and played with her.  15 minutes later, Z-man is brought to me in instructor's arms.  I was told that he would not cooperate and that when the back float was attempted, he pitched a fit and refused to swim any more and did I want him to force the Z man to cooperate?  Sort of !  I can't make him do it, maybe he can!  But, I said that I didn't think that was a good idea.  So, the instructor said that there is not much they can do until he can float on his back, that it is not really safe for him to be in the pool without that skill, and I should cancel the rest of my lessons until he is ready to do that because it is a waste to just kick him around the shallow end.  

I was so pissed!  Not at the instructor.  I think he was correct - it is dangerous for him to be in the pool without him able to back float and get himself to the surface where he can breathe.  And, it is a waste of money to have him kick around holding on to the instructor.  He basically does this in his floatie vest at home.  No, I was pissed at my wussy, stubborn son because I don't know how to get him to do this.  I can't make him and he won't do it until he is ready.  We are at a standoff!

But, oh he is so sweet and so smart and so funny and so considerate.  So, maybe he is destined to never do anything athletic.  Maybe his sister is the great hope! 

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