Swimming has been a challenge for my boys. Never mind the coordination issues and the sensory issues around actually having to put your face in the water, but they also appear to have inherited my husband’s lead-like buoyancy.
We tried swimming lessons for almost a year at the local community center. The lack of supervision required my jumping in fully clothed to pull Oliver off the bottom of the pool (and yes, I called the mayor at home and reported them to every state agency). And then this summer while on vacation, Victor decided he could swim, which is great except he can’t and no one was watching. A crisis (which still makes me queazy) was narrowly averted.
So this fall I announced learning to swim was simply a requirement. There was crying and screaming, but I held firm. The husband backed me up. No vacations ANYWHERE near water, including hotel with pool, until they can swim the length of a pool. Twice.
We enrolled at La Petite Baleen, a local program with warm water (a must to prevent whining) and a fairly regimented program. We were dubious at first. After 3 sessions Victor would still not put his face in the water (his biggest sensory issues involve his face). So they dunked him. He hated it, but he lived. I thought about telling the teacher about his issues, but you know he just has to learn.
They wore flippers, which helped, and they practiced over and over. There was a lot of sinking, and Victor kept trying to walk in the water, the idea of keeping his body horizontal completely foreign. And then finally last week it clicked. They both swam 6 feet face in the water. Little legs pumping, arms flailing, but they did it. And they earned a green ribbon. So excited by the fact they actually earned something on their own all they can talk about is going for their blue ribbon! Or in Oliver’s words, “That blue ribbon is killing me, mom.”
And now no one remembers that mom forced then to go to lessons or that they were dunked in the water, just that they did something. On their own.