Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8/12/09 Last swim class

Last Water Babies swim class tonight.

I'm happy with the progress they've made, so much so that I think it's jump-started them at the far more convenient but far less competent DACA. Since I don't dare make any other schedule changes the first month of school, I un-cancelled their Saturday 8am swim classes. Working-parent guilt can't allow me to drop everything. We'll stick it out a little longer, at least while it's still warm enough to wear shorts and sandals to the lessons, anyway.

Also, Gabriel has a goal of getting his next ribbon, and my observation that his teacher is good was reinforced today by the girls behind the desk. They might say this about all the teachers, but their praise of this particular one seemed genuine. As for Julian...well, hopefully if his new (private for now) teacher learns that Julian does know how to use his arms, maybe the teacher will fast-forward a bit.

Katrina -- swim teacher Katrina that is, not sister -- actually had the boys race today. That's the way to get them moving!

Except that poor Julian is constantly competing with his snotty older brother, who never fails to put him down. But he sure makes a try for it! Julian looks more like he's trying to throw a ball than swim.

And today, Gabriel put Julian down literally as well as verbally, in the water. I'd given him a strict instruction before we even got to the swim school not to touch Julian's head in the water at all, as he'd been pulling on Julian's swim goggles and hurting him. But that didn't stop him. In playtime before the lesson, he grabbed Julian's entire head, pulled it back, and held it underwater. Julian came up coughing and looking alarmed, and I was furious. Naturally, I kicked him out of the play area, which of course led to him calling me some foul names across the pool area. Nice. Then Gabriel held Julian's head underwater again during the lesson when teacher Katrina was fetching some dive rings. Then again in playtime after the lesson, I kicked him out of the play area for another painful offense against Julian's head. I didn't even wait to hear what it was, I just saw Julian crying and kicked Gabriel out.

Putting the boys together in the same class, and the same playtime before and after class, was a huge mistake. I'll never do that again. Even when they're not threatening each other's lives, they're very annoying and distract the teacher by messing around together.

I really liked teacher Katrina, she did a good job engaging both of them, putting up with their antics, and not putting up with obnoxiousness. Antics are fine. Obnoxiousness is not.

But, as long as I'm looking for swimming trouble, it occurs to me that with this Saturday 8am lesson thing already going, why not add one more to the mix? In October, Katrina will qualify for the "novice" lessons -- 3 years old is the minimum age for a lesson without a parent in the water. As much as I love parent-tot lessons, her feeling is not mutual, and she might do better in a class without me in it -- or even in sight. So when the swim school has a schedule for October, I might try to sign her up too.

I'd like her to have a little water familiarity -- she insists on standing right at the edge of the pool. Any child falling in a pool unexpectedly is an emergency, swim lessons or not, but having some clue how to get to the side of the pool and grab the edge affects the life-or-deathness of the emergency. In Katrina's case, it's acute.

I'm happy to say that stumbling into a pool unexpectedly probably wouldn't instantly drown the boys anymore; they'd have a shot at saving themselves if they got past surprise, shock and panic. Julian's biggest drowning risk seems to be Gabriel. (I'm still really pissed about that.)

But why stop there? I've been looking into "drop-in master's" classes for myself, which I've determined are coached swim workouts. I've always assumed they're too advanced for me, but a nearby swim club does masters at different levels, and their "Group 2" description seems to fit me fine. Hmm, maybe I should look into brushing Dave up in the water too!


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