Yesterday, C graduated from year 2 of his swim lessons! In commemoration of this fine event, I have a brief tale from year one.
Because year 1’s swim lessons happened during the day, I didn’t get a chance to see how he was progressing. So one Saturday, we all went to the local swimming pool for a demo.
We got in the pool with me holding C. I moved a few feet away from the edge and (following instructions) let him go. He immediately went under water and I lunged to grab him. That’s my job, right? Well, no.
After being roundly chastised, I tried again. C went under water again – and then his hands and feet started churning. While I watched, he made steady progress to the side of the pool. His little hand stuck up out of the water, grabbed the edge, and he pulled his head up with a triumphant grin.
Life was good.
Daddy being daddy, however, I had him try from farther away from the edge. He was (somewhat) okay with this, and then we turned it into a game. He’d swim to the edge, and then I’d swim to him. Loads of fun.
And then C took over. I let him go, he swam to the side, his hand stuck up out of the water to grab the edge, and that was it. His head didn’t come up. Panicked, I lunged over, grabbed him, and pulled him out. We had a talk (with J joining in) to make sure everything was okay.
We tried again and the same thing happened. This time, though, I realized something when I pulled him out: he wasn’t scared, crying, or even remotely upset. In fact, he seemed to be grinning.
The third time, I got clever. While he was dog-paddling, I (stealthily) swam around to the side so I could see what was happening. J stayed by the edge ready to grab him if necessary. He got to the side, put his hand up to grab the edge, and (still underwater) turned to look back to where he thought I would be. He was smiling!
I wasn’t there, of course. He looked around, spotted me, burst out laughing, and then pulled himself up.
I decided it was time to leave the pool at that point, but it was too late. The damage had been done. Having discovered his new game, he used it mercilessly over the next few months. When we’d get in the pool he’d smile and stick his head underwater, waiting for us to lift him out.
You want to know pressure? Try playing chicken with your 18 month old son who’s holding his head under water. You’ll lose every time. Or at least, I did.