Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Swimming Lessons [Ongoing]

I enrolled the girls in swimming lessons. Instead of going to the amazing, swanky place where Zuzu has taken lessons the last few years, I'd decided to take them both to the YMCA. They could both get 8 weeks of lessons for same price as ONE of them having 4 weeks of lessons at our other place, so really it was a financial decision, but I'm still not positive it was the right one...

We get all checked in a the front desk (which was busy and understaffed) and then we headed down to the pool. Water-loving Zuzu was super jazzed, Coco less so. The plan was for David to do the parent/child lessons with Coco. We got her changed in the locker room and found the locations of their classes.

And we hit our first snag of the day. Zuzu wasn't on the list for her class. And her age group was full (of course). It turns out that somehow she had been enrolled in the 9:00 am class on TUESDAY instead of Saturday. I didn't know what to do because obviously Tuesday mornings were not going to work for our schedule, but the lady with the binder told me she'd figure out something, and eventually Zuzu was able to join her class, just a bit after the start time. Zuzu was totally chill about it, thank goodness.

Meanwhile, David was in the pool with Coco for the parent/child class and she spent the entire half hour sobbing and crying, "Mommy! Mommy!" Well, not quite the entire half hour. He left a few minutes early because it was obviously a waste of time and annoying for everyone else.

Zuzu, meanwhile, had a blast wading around the shallow end until she was able to join her class, and seemed to enjoy her lesson, although I stood there feeling completely exasperated as I watched the instructor CARRY her in the pool as though acclimating her to the water. The instructor was a substitute, and not the permanent instructor, so hopefully the regular instructor will actually teach her something, or at least let her practice her skills.

Obviously, I now remember why we paid so much more for swim lessons in the past--the chaos, the stink of chlorine, the noise, AND the fact that these lessons at the Y don't seem to be nearly as effective.

When class was over, we let Zuzu swim and play for a few minutes in the shallow end. Coco was perfectly content to sit on my lap (dressed in dry clothes) and watch Zuzu splash. I told myself (and David) that this was worth the cost of swim lessons alone, as Zu had SO MUCH FUN (and we don't have a Y membership, so normally she doesn't have access to an indoor pool).

But then it was time to go. We were meeting up with my friend Erin to go look to a couple of animal shelters because Erin wants to adopt a cat, and I thought Zuzu would have fun helping her choose one. Zuzu had been looking forward to it all week, so I reminded her that we'd be doing that after we went home. I gave her a 5 minute warning, a 2 minute warning, and a 1 minute warning. Then it was time to go.

(Can you predict where this story is going?)

She wouldn't get out of the water.

David had changed out of his swim trunks and I was dressed in regular clothes, so we couldn't exactly jump in after her.

Her swim coach noticed that we were telling her it was time to leave and that she was not listening, and he ended up going into the pool and literally picking her up and dragging her out.

(Here's where I was grateful for the relative chaos of the YMCA pool, because no one seemed to notice that our kid was being completely defiant and uncooperative.)

She, of course, HAS NO SHAME and thought being chased by him was great fun, and ran/swam giggling and shrieking through the water until he caught up with her and lifted her up on to the edge and I grabbed her arm and dragged her to the bathroom, after thanking him profusely while also telling her in my stern-but-still-quiet voice that her behavior was NOT okay and she does NOT get to have fun swim time after lessons next week.

Of course, she continues to give zero f*cks about disappointing adults, and her reality is only what's happening in the immediate RIGHT NOW, so this punishment won't go into effect until next swimming lessons, after which we will ALL suffer as she throws an enormous fit about losing the privilege because of the poor choice she made a week earlier.

(I've requested two new parenting books from the library because I feel like I am doing this really badly right now.)

As for Coco, I'm giving in and shaving my legs for swimming lessons next Saturday, so we'll see if she really wanted Mommy, or if she just wanted to get the eff out of the pool.

Weekends are suddenly feeling less relaxing than the work week.

14 comments:

  1. Ugh. I feel you so much here. M loves to be chased right now, so I have to be very careful to avoid chase situations. Even so, anytime we're swimming it's the same thing! Especially during "lessons" when they aren't allowed to play freely. Which is why I prefer open swim. After an hour or two she willingly gets out, which makes us both happier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish our kids could get together and chase each other to exhaustion!

      Delete
  2. Oh dang. I hate swim lessons. I won't even consider enrolling Claire. We also did the swanky place (what a wonderful temperature of the water!) and the YMCA lessons which were inexpensive but only done at Coco's age for B. We even did them at the outdoor pool in the summer for B last year and 2/8 lessons, he refused to get in the pool AT ALL. And so I vowed never to give him lessons again because he can tread water and swim the length of the pool and while his technique is so crappy, he isn't doing it and so it's just wasting me money.

    And Claire? Hates water. It's my honest opinion having two very different kids (related to water love) that very regular exposure is the key. Claire is so much more comfortable going 3x/week to the pool and would probably lose her mind with lessons. She blows bubble, kicks and is doing what they do in her baby class. I truly thing a private lesson is the only way my kids will ever have a lesson again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it funny how different their innate attraction to water can be? I was feeling bad that I hadn't started Coco in baby swim lessons at 7 months old like I did with Zuzu, but really even her enjoyment of the bath is different--Zuzu will play in the tub until she prunes and Coco will always tell me she's "all done!"--she prefers to streak around the house naked (and dry). So I'm viewing this as exposure and hopefully she'll be happy just playing in the water with me during the classtime (it's not like the parent/child class has real "lessons" going on).

      But, yeah, so much for my money-saving plan. I'm already looking into private or small-group lessons for Zuzu this summer.

      Delete
  3. We're starting our first swim lessons ever at the Y next week. It's super cheap but hopefully will go smoothly. Right now, Bode is saying he needs his puddle jumper (which we all love!) but we went today to sign up and watch so hopefully he will be excited to get wet without floatation next week!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This will be cold comfort right now, but it does get better. I remember only too well wrestling at the hockey arena with three of my boys refusing to leave, while their baby brother screamed in his car seat. I felt like the poster child for poor parenting / seemingly ignorant about birth control. Hang in there, for what it's worth you're doing a marvellous job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, yes, feeling your pain. But thanks for the vote of confidence. We had a rough weekend in general, so here's hoping for some improvement sooner rather than later!

      Delete
  5. We did the Y lessons for one summer. E had a 30-minute lesson with six 3-year-olds, so my expectations were low, but they needed to be lower. That's only five minutes per kid if everything goes perfectly, which of course it didn't with a bunch of preschoolers. I learned that most of the parents considered the Y lessons a way to entertain their kids or get them comfortable in the water.
    So, the next year, I plunked down for the expensive lessons, which have two or three kids per class. It still feels like it has taken forever for her to become a decent swimmer, but we're almost there. Just in time to start Henry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes--I'm putting this down to pure enjoyment/entertainment (for HER, not ME, obvs) and trying to get Coco more comfortable in the water. I'll handle it all better if I think about it that way. :) My neighbor recommended good, reasonably priced private lessons at an outdoor pool this summer, so I'll be looking into that as well.

      Delete
  6. I took my girls to swim lessons when they were two and five. The two-year-old jumped right in, almost scarily so -- hey, grab that toddler; she's unsupervised in the pool. The older one folded her arms and glared because there was no way in hell she was getting in that water.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't have any input regarding swimming lessons, but my almost five year old is currently in the zero f%#ks club as well. She'd considered membership before, but she joined up with a vengeance last fall, and I was fooled briefly into thinking we'd managed to cancel her membership, but no. It is freaking maddening. I'm just always thankful for your sharing here, bc at least she's not the only one!

    ReplyDelete
  8. We have a swim team and prep team here and it's pretty reasonable. The kids swim ages 4 and up every day for 45 min. My older 2 have improved SO much. It's from mid June through end of July. It may not work for working parents unless they have summer's off, but we really like it. We tried the Y lessons but my kids didn't learn nearly as much as being in the pool every day with a instructor for every 2 kids.

    Check out some of the positive discipline books. I have been dealing with my own toddler tantrums, and it's a change of mindset, but it does help. There are a few but most are by Jane Nelson. There are classes offered too.

    Kel

    ReplyDelete
  9. I. Feel. Your. Pain. When my youngest (and least flexible) daughter was a baby, she was a pathetic, crying mess during every swim lesson, and I was with her for them. Ugh. Total waste.

    And yes, we're now also at the Y cause it's SO much cheaper, and I definitely can tell the difference. They just don't push the kids in the same way. Stop babying them. The expensive place had no mercy - and the kids learned a lot faster that way.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, seems we're in good company. Have swim lessons always been fraught with this much drama?! Because Cate is on her THIRD round of the same beginner level at the swanky place because she refuses to put her face in the water. Freaks the hell out when threatened with putting her whole head in, which we've done a few times with the intention of "eventually she'll figure out she's not going to drown/die/burn up/have everlasting (visible) scars, etc. Though I'm starting to wonder about invisible scars. When do you say "enough, she's not ready?" We're going to the try the everyday-for-4-days over two weeks versus the once a week thing and see how that goes. If we get nowhere, we might give up for awhile. I just HATE the thought of not having that automatic safety feature in her though. Knowing how to swim seems like a big deal, and my freak-out mama side really wants her to do it.

    ReplyDelete