Starfish Swim School and the Five Points of Panic

The boys are learning to swim. They’ve been water babies since their first dunking in the NICU tub the size of a legal pad of paper. Destroy has recently taken to attempting the breaststroke in the bathtub (when not soaking everything and everyone in his hurricane path). Legend has it, Search turned down popsicles in Summer School in favor of water play.

So naturally, being mother of the year, Safety First!

Our budding little Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte got signed up for swim lessons.

Saturday was the first day of the Fall Swim Season. (You know you’re jealous non-California peeps.) The muppets are now enrolled in the Baby Starfish Class. They are not thrilled.

1. Dumbbells

We arrived for our 9:30 a.m. class 15 minutes early. (If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late!) The boys were clad in their too-cool-for-school swim pants. We pulled a Prince Harry, stripping them down to their skivvies to add swim diapers to the ensemble.

You have to wait until the last minute if you’re putting a non-potty trained kid in a swim diaper. Because those suckers simply prevent free-floating poo in an aquatic environment. They hold nothing. Trust me. (Go ahead and ask the music teacher who had to contend with soggy mats after mommy thought she was being ingenious by putting on a swim diaper when a muppet needed a diaper change and she’d forgot the diaper bag.)

Muppets were deemed too tiny for fins, so they were handed a floaty dumbbell and plopped in the pool.

2. London Bridge is Falling Down

Good news! Pool was heated. This did not sway Search.

My little Search was displeased with the rush. What are these timetables the adults were insisting upon. He felt rushed, with no time to take in his surroundings. “ALL DONE!” he howled.

Destroy was In. His. Element. Arms draped over his dumbbell, all 30 pounds of Joe Cool floated about the shallow end with a grin on his face. All by himself! (Although, in Search’s defense, the 3 foot “shallow end” is totally not shallow to a 2 foot muppet.)

Our little group of five 6 month – 3 year old swimmers began to sing silly songs while splashing about. Destroy floated on over, found a duck and pretty much ignored everyone around him. Search was pretty sure the world was about to end.

When we began to circle under the big blue magic carpet mat to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down,” I’m pretty sure I heard him yell, “I TOLD YOU THIS WAS A BAD IDEA!”

3. Bubble Face

This is where the shit hit the fan. Or rather, nose hit water.

To make a bubble face – puff out your cheeks all filled with air. You see where I’m going with this? Yeah. That bubble face makes bubbles when you go under water.

And it’s all fun and games until somebody snorts chlorinated liquid.

Suddenly Destroy didn’t think this enlarged bathtub was too peachy keen anymore. But there was still 10 minutes remaining in the lesson. And dammit, we were swimming! (Turns out a bubble face is really more of a sputter gagging choke.)

See Search’s above proclamation about Mommy’s brilliant swim school idea.

4. Monkey Crawl

You know what sounds like a good idea? Encouraging your wailing child to cling to the wall of a swimming pool for dear life. Then let go. Surprisingly, both my boys were stunningly good at this little maneuver.

Of course, when I reached for Search after his gravity-defying ninja crawl toward a green rubber duck (“FUCK!”), he turned his gorilla-strength monkey grip toward me and clung for dear life. There would be no letting go until all parties involved were removed from the tank and securely on solid ground.

5. Happy Whales to You

Thirty minutes may not seem like an Olympic swim session to you. But to a toddler – it may as well be a lifetime.

We packed the boys back into their stroller and prepared to stroll home. Search was now hiccupping with woe. He may have also been cold. Destroy sat stock still. The Glare on his face said it all.

“I hated that. I hate you. I am never going in that water again.”

He didn’t say a word the entire way home. He would make eye contact only to share the evil eye. Even the bounce house and Big Truck we passed on the way home didn’t sway him. Once home, we changed him out of his wet Starfish swimsuit. He was still silently seething as he stepped out of it – his back to me as he marched across the entry room rug.

And then my naked little man turned around to face me.

“Mommy. I peed.”

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