This summer, instead of soccer or baseball or basketball or gymnastics or whatever-else-the-kids-might-be-interested-in, we made an executive decision. This summer they would learn to swim.
We both grew up in homes with swimming pools. I've been a pretty strong swimmer since the summer I was five. That summer, we had moved into a new home in San Diego and joined the local pool. (Don't be too impressed- it wasn't like a country club pool or anything. No restaurant or beverage service. It was just a pool you could join for the season.) My older brother, who was 8, dared me to walk all the way to the number 3 painted on the side of the pool, while in the water. I didn't know it meant 3 feet. I didn't know I wasn't 3 feet tall yet. Or if I was, I barely was-- because to "walk" that deep meant to go under the water. Which I did.
And then I panicked.
And then the lifeguard jumped in an pulled me out.
I remember sitting on a lounge chair, with a towel covering my head and face afterward. My mom had her arm around me. I was embarrassed. I couldn't believe I'd just had a lifeguard pull me out of the pool. Even at 5 I knew that was embarrassing. So I made my mom promise to get me swim lessons. Which, of course, she did. And before the end of the summer, I was swimming.
So I just assumed that's how it worked with all kids.
Well, we all know that assuming isn't wise.
Casey has been in swim lessons since he was 6 or 7 months old. I'm not exaggerating. Not even a little. But he still wasn't swimming. AND he was terrified of the pool that went deeper than 3 feet. AND he was terrified of swim lessons. Last year, he worked himself into a fever any time he knew he had lessons. Literally. We went to the doctor because we couldn't figure out why or how he spiked a fever only on Tuesdays and Thursdays after nap at school.
So we decided to go somewhere new this time. And indoor pool. 90 degree water. Near our house. Lessons without parents. Twice a week. Kids in groups of three. When we signed up, they asked where we'd had lessons. We listed all the places: city pool, local Y, local gym, fancy pants swim school where everyone else's kids learn to swim very young. So the list went. They instructor's eyes grew (just a tiny bit) wide. He wanted to know what went wrong.
It wasn't the schools though (except the Y- those guys once commented that they were going to just chuck the kids in the deep end, and that was the end of it for Casey. He didn't understand- or care- that they were kidding). It was the incidents. The first time, Casey fell in the pool at a party. The second time, he was pushed in. Ever since, at pool parties, Casey prefers to hang out in the "little pool." You might know it as the spa.
Anyway, long story short, Casey is swimming. For real.
He's not comfortable doing it without an adult right next to him.
He still "panic" swims by flailing his arms a bit.
He tends to gasp for air instead of breathing.
But, by George, he really is swimming. He can swim in circles. He can jump in and swim. He can swim to the bottom of the 3 foot section and find a ring.
They told us not to expect miracles in this first, 6-week session. But it's only been 4 weeks so far, and he has amazed us all.
Now if we could just get Marcie to stop calling out for me when she should be swimming, we'd be all set.