July 05, 2004
Today it began – swim lessons. All three boys are taking lessons this summer, but due to the serendipitous joy of the schedule, NO TWO LESSONS RUN CONCURRENTLY. So that’s an hour and a half in the middle of the day at the outdoor pool. Don’t tell any dermatologists, ok? Now, there’s a part of me, a shallow and selfish part, that is somewhat resentful of the many hours that are being sucked down the pool drain. I mean, an hour and a half. Every day. But then, there’s another part of me. That part is glad to sacrifice this time for my boys because it means whenever I send them to watch TV for the rest of the summer, I don’t have to feel guilty. I mean, they get swim lessons, what more do they want?
Huh. I guess it turns out that both sides of me are fairly shallow and selfish. Oh well.
Tre was a little worried about starting lessons again this year. Last year I got carried away. I listened to the instructors tell me about the skills he’d achieved and the ones he should work on next, and chose his class based on that criteria. He ended up in a class full of twelve year olds. Sadly, most of them were girls. There he was, barely eight (and a short eight at that), surrounded by girls who peered right over his head and were starting to look like an entirely different species. The swimming was rigorous, and he had no fun at all. But this year I put him in a class a whole level easier than what I know he can do, and I checked to be sure the other kids were his age. When his class was finished he came trotting over to me, dripping and grinning.
“How was it?” I asked.
“Great!” He glanced around, then leaned in and confided, “There are more boys than girls.” He seemed mightily relieved, as though a battle had already been won.
Max was excited to start lessons, in a straightforward way that is very unlike Max. He just wanted to get in the water and swim. And by golly, he did that. He did what he was supposed to, except for once, when the teacher asked him to put his head in the water for juuuuust a bit longer, and Max gave him the Max-the-mule shake of the head. When pressed to go ahead and try, Max said, “No.”
Very politely, but firmly.
Today Max’s teacher began learning the meaning of “an immovable object.” It was good.
Raphael was the one I was a touch anxious about. The big pool worries him a bit, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to get in it. Plus he was signed up for a class for three year olds…which he is…but barely. He looked so little, next to all the burly girls in his class. But when it was time to get in he hopped right into the pool without a backward glance. Even when the instructor caught him and dunked his head under the water, Raphi took it with aplomb. He held onto the side of the pool when told to and seemed just delighted.
That lasted about five minutes.
Then the little girl next to him started kicking a bit too eagerly, splashing him.
“HEY! Stop DAT! Don’ spwash ME!” He ordered sternly. The girl ignored him and kicked blithely away. On the other side of him another girl was squirming around so much that she caused the metal platform they were standing on (to make the water shallow enough for them) to scoot away from the wall.
“DON’ DO DAT! DON’ MOVE DA TABLE!” He was really irritated now, and looked at me. “Ah need to get out now,” he informed me. I smiled encouragingly back.
“No, not yet! Wait until your class is over!” He looked at my mom, who was sitting next to me.
“Amma? Ah need to get out now.” She looked at me, stricken. The boy knows weakness when he smells it.
“Not yet,” I coached her, sotto voice, “you can get out when your class is over.”
“Soon, Honey, soon,” she called back to him, “just not quite yet.”
The instructor took Raphael away from the wall to show him a back float. The minute he flipped my son on his back, he stiffened into a panicked “V” shape, his arm locked around the teacher’s neck, his toes poking out of the water like beacons of fear.
“AH GONNA DIE,” he informed the instructor.
“No you’re not, buddy,” he replied.
“AH NEED TO GET OUT NOW.”
I decided it was time for me to move to the other side of the pool. Raphael didn’t need an audience. From the baby pool I could hear him, calling out to any one who came within earshot, “Hey! Ah need to get out now! Ah gettin’ out now.” He was mightily irritated with the lack of response he received, and he did manage to stay in the pool until the end of the lesson. His teacher hoisted him out of the water, onto the cement, and he padded over to me. I wrapped his towel around him and told him how proud I was of him. His brothers patted him and told him he did a good job. Mom beamed at him and concurred that he was wonderful. He smiled proudly and agreed that he was pretty wonderful.
“And tomorrow you get to do it again!” I said enthusiastically.
That earned me a glare. We’ll see how it goes.
"Ah Gonna Die!" good thing you don't live close. I have a feeling I'd just want to pinch Raphael's cheek. And I'm not normally a cheek pinching type. And isn't amazing how amma's take the opposite stance from the moms?
Posted by: Linda Sherwood | July 06, 2004 at 08:18 AM
HA! Can you and the boys come over and play? Please??
Posted by: Mir | July 06, 2004 at 08:22 AM
LMAO, OMG, I giggled until I almost cried... my co-workers think I'm a nutter... "Ah gonna die." I can so hear my son saying that!
Oh you make my day, Kira!!
Posted by: Heather McCutcheon | July 06, 2004 at 11:37 AM
Oh boy, my girls start their lessons in a few weeks. Everyday for 2 weeks I'll be at that pool...
Posted by: Marcia | July 06, 2004 at 06:20 PM
LOL! I loved it! Your son sounds awfully cute.
Posted by: Sonya | July 06, 2004 at 11:12 PM