And I Will Pop Back Up

Today the boys started swimming lessons at Sea Star Swim School.  In preparation for the task at hand, we have been talking about taking lessons for months.  Finn has not been happy about the prospect of swimming lessons, because as he puts it, "I will surely die.".  Every time we talk about it Finn will say something along the lines of, "I don't want to do to swimming lessons because I will drown."  I have assured him  that he will be very well taken care of by his teacher. As always, Finn had a come back:  "Well, what if a bad guy comes in and hurts my teacher and then drowns me." Sheesh - this child has a lot of worry about.

Sam's response has been a little different.  For the last few days Sam will walk up to me randomly and say, "and I will pop back up!?  It is somewhat of a statement/somewhat of a question. Then he waits for the reassurance that yes, in fact, he will pop back up out of the water unscathed.

I must admit that  I have been nefariously excited about this lesson for weeks.  I couldn't wait to see what my children would be forced to endure at swim class.

I arrived at the school around 3:15 and bought googles for the boys.  Then Gran and I waited on Grandad and the boys to arrive.  Once inside, I took the boys to the locker room and put them in their swimming trunks.  I gave them one last word of encouragement and put them in the water.

They put all the kids on a platform that had a horizontal pole attached.  This way all the kids can safely be in the water at the same time.  Next they started with the exercises.  First they grabbed the boys under their arms and made them take one pass (from the platform to the end of the pool and back) just leaning forward and kicking their feet.

The second pass was very similar except they made the boys dunk their heads under the water every few steps.  The third pass involved the boys floating on their backs. Next the boys got on the kick board and kicked all the way down to the end of the pool and back. After the kick board they did a few more passes then started working on pulling themselves out of the pool.  Once they were out they were instructed to sit on the side and dangle their feet in the water.  Then they were instructed to scoot into the water and let their heads go under, pop up and reach for the side.  Finn went first.  The second Sam saw Finn's head go in the water he stood up and stormed off to the back wall and vehemently refused to come back.  Luckily Finn was able to encourage Sam to walk back over to the pool and to sit back out on his bottom. Last they made the kids go hand-over-hand down the side of the pool to the steps.

We watched the whole thing from behind a plexi-glass window.  While we could see the boys, we couldn't hear them.  Finn's facial expressions were ones of pure excitement and determination.  He was a little apprehensive at first, but he caught on real quick.  After every pass he looked over to where we were watching and gave us a thumbs up.

As for Sam, we initially thought that he was having a great time.  It was later that we realized that the muffled scream that we kept hearing was actually coming from Sam.  Finn later confirmed that Sam cried through most of the lesson.  Finn was so good to Sam.  He was encouraging and put his arm around Sam when they were standing together.  Every time Sam would get finished with his turn he would immediately find Finn and go stand right next to him.  I thought that Sam might actually push one poor child into the water - nothing was going to stand in Sam's way of getting back to Finn.

Finn's "after" photo. After the lesson was over Finn ran over to us - he was so proud of himself.  He said, "AND I DIDN'T EVEN DROWN!" He told us that he was excited to come back next week and that we wasn't scared anymore.  This was a huge success for Finn. 

This is Sam's "after" photo.  Sam did about as well as expected given that he is barely three years old.  I would characterize Sam's experience as follows:  "they can make me go, but they can't make me enjoy it."

After a few minutes, Sam came around and said that he liked it too.  Back in the locker room, Finn was still reeling from his lesson.  He talked 100 miles per hour about how fun it was and how proud he was of himself.  Gran, Grandad and I reinforced how proud we were too. 

Once back in their dry clothes the boys watched the older kids swim.  They were mesmerized with kids jumping off of the diving boards.

As a treat, Gran and I took the boys to Culvers for some frozen custard.  Finn continued to tell us over and over how much he loved his class. 

Once we got home, I gave the boys a bath.  Finn practiced laying his head back in the water.  When he sat up he said, "mom, a day that starts with Lucky Charms and ends with Ice Cream is a pretty good day." This statement tickled me because it sounded so grown up.  I take it that the boys had Lucky Charms for breakfast at Grandad and Gigi's house. 

Earlier in the the day I went to visit Papa at the ICU in Vanderbilt.  Laura had been with him all night so I was able hang out with her and drink coffee for much of the morning.  Even though it was an emotional visit, I was so happy to get to sit and talk with Aunt Laura for so long. I was also able to see Granny and Uncle David too.