This past week, we ventured into the world of swim lessons. Chad and I both love pools and water, and it’s a staple to being in our family, so naturally, it was time for Max to sink or swim… aka get thrown out of the family or swim like a fish… I kid, kinda :)
Anna and Lizzy used this lady named Autumn about 20 miles north of us last summer and had great results so I called in April to get Max on the list. I didn’t really mention it to him much because I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about it and I didn’t want him to have time to worry if it was going to go that direction. But I did ask my brother Eli, one of Max’s favorite people in the world and a swim coach of many years, if he would be the one to take Max. The kind of lessons we signed up for was a three days in a row “boot camp” of sorts and each child had to have an adult in the water with them. And honestly, I just didn’t think I was tough enough to do what had to be done—I’m a worrier, so I’d be saying “well just let him catch his breath” or “he doesn’t like that” or “that’s scaring him” and I’m pretty sure that would go against everything Ms. Autumn was teaching, ha!
So day 1 rolled around and Eli had an interview surface that he needed to go to so I had to call for back—Chad! He had the worst job of all, taking Max on the first day. We he arrived, Ms. Autumn warned that it would be “B-A-D” but that they just all needed to keep doing what she said. Chad said that the entire time, every single child, like 10 of them, screamed and cried for the full hour. The parents had to push them under, helps them use their arms and bop for air, get out of the pool themselves, and learn to turn while treading water to get to an adult or the side of the pool, among other things. Ms. Autumn’s stance is to teach them to swim—knowing how to get help, get air, and get to the edge, which are obviously survival techniques, but that’s not her goal. So on the first day, after swallowing most of the pool and crying hysterically (THANK GOD I WASN’T THERE) Max literally threw up. In the pool. I think is scarred everyone there, but Max quickly recovered, finished the first class and came home. His report to me was “It was a little bit hard” but he didn’t push back at all about going back the next day.
|Look at that post-swimming, post-throwing up face!|
So on Wednesday, Eli came and picked him up and took him to Ms. Autumn again. Day 2 was much better. Eli said he didn’t cry at all and although he was one of the youngers, he was pretty close to the top of his class. This wasn’t really surprising considering his athleticism and his work ethic (he does it until he gets it) but on the other hand, day 1 was so traumatic that no one expected it to go this well. I later found out from my mom, that after Chad had given Eli the scoop of Day 1, Eli said “I’m not going to push his face in and make him cry, I don’t care what they say.” I guess we’re all pretty wimpy when it comes to our Max! Thankfully, he was great for Coach Uncle Eli, and they both had a great time with great results. By the time they arrived home, both were pumped for Day 3.
On Thursday, I decided it was time I join in on the fun... from the side of the pool. I had asked both Chad and Eli to take pictures but of course they can't do that in the pool, and a mother needs documentation of such major events in one child's life. So me and Jack loaded up with Max and Coach Uncle Eli and we all invaded Ms. Autumn's for the last day. I was THOROUGHLY impressed by my little man. He did everything over and over and over-- he'd swim to the edge, climb up on the edge, and then jump in to Eli... he did all the drills, he put his face in like a champ, he worked really hard to have big arms and good kicking legs.
Since this was the last day, she had everyone get in a circle with their child and each kid had to swim around the circle from parent to parent-- it made you not really worry about your child and made your child sink or swim... literally. This was traumatic for some, but not for my Max! He was full of smiles the whole class!
At the end of every class, all the kids get to jump of the diving board to Ms. Autumn who is treading, then if she thinks you're up for the challenge, she has you swim to one of her helper teachers in the middle of the pool, and then you have to go over to the last helper at the ladder. Not all kids get to do this, but Max did and he rocked it!
And now my boy is all ready for the cool of the pool all summer long! We might go visit Ms. Autumn again one feel later in the summer to learn some new skills, but we've got plenty to work on for now... along with his golf game and baseball mastery too of course!
P.S. Baby J loved swim lessons too....