Sunday, June 24, 2012

Little Swimmers

Despite the fact that, in our former lives, JP and I each had a couple of National cuts and Olympic Trial qualifying times (and JP had a booming business providing private swim lessons in Austin), we have thus far paid other people to teach our children to swim.

Round 1 for Landon took place when he was 3 and what I remember most is the crying. No screaming and no hysterics, just constant quiet tears and lots of begging to stop. I remember a moment when I was crouched behind a shed with 3 week old Clairebear, sweating buckets in the 108 degree breezeless heat, hiding from Landon's view in hopes that it would make the crying stop, and reading an email from a law school friend who was power-lawyering it up on a business trip in Manhattan and thinking oh how far I've fallen in a single month of maternity leave. Then we stopped for snow cones on the way home and I watched 3 hours of HGTV while the kids slept and decided I was back on top again. But I digress. Landon still enjoyed playing in our neighborhood pool and was never afraid of the water, he just quietly sobbed his little heart out when made to do terrible life-saving things like "float on your back" and "climb out of the pool by yourself."

Swim lessons round 2 took place last summer just before he turned 4. He remembered swim lessons as being filled with fun and stickers (god bless children and their faulty, overly optimistic memories) and we were doing them with a friend again (the same friend who came to visit us in May), so we were hopeful that we might walk away with fewer tears and a moderately water safe kid. And we mostly did, though we still wouldn't have been able to throw Landon in a pool and trust he could get himself out.

Then we moved to Fort Worth and got a pool in our backyard. And within weeks- maybe two weeks- Landon was swimming. Swimming! Head down, body up, arms scooping through the water swimming. JP can throw him in the deep end and Landon will pop up and swim to the wall. It's fabulous. We would never leave him unsupervised, but it is something of a relief to have one kid who can swim back and forth across your pool without assistance.


So now that we've reached basic swimming competence, JP is trying to do this summer's lessons. It's going mostly well, though we still have the fair bit of tears ("but I don't want to float on my back"! "Landon, you JUST did it." "But I might get water on my face." "Well, if you do, just close your eyes." [devolving into sobs now] "but I don't waaaaaant tooooo." "Landon, YOU JUST DID IT PERFECTLY ONE SECOND AGO WHY DO YOU CRY EVERY TIME?" [repeat a lot, end scene]). But Landon is improving and getting more confident and the tears and sobs of "I can't... I don't know HOW... I GOT WATER IN MY MOUTH." are both less frequent and, most importantly, utterly ineffective against JP.

We're still deciding what to do with Claire. So far she has had no interest in leaving the top step of the pool and has resisted all efforts to move further into the water. Until yesterday.


We were having friends over for a swim party and decided to get some swim practice out of the way before they arrived. Claire was intrigued.


JP asked if she wanted to join the lesson and she gave and enthusiastic "YEAH!"

(I love this picture so much)

Never one to waste a swimming-related opportunity, JP got right to work.


There was bubble blowing.


And monkey arms, complete with "ooh ooh ah ah" noises all the way around.


And LOTS of high-fives.


We ended the lesson on a high note as our friends arrived, assuming Claire would go back to her filling and dumping of cups on the top step routine, but this time she grabbed a water ring and took off for deeper waters.


This is a girl who's never been on the second step.


I have mixed feelings about her newfound confidence, but Claire was like, eh, what's all the fuss about? It's just a bigger bathtub.


We swam for hours, grilled out fajitas with friends, and then swam for more hours today (and then grilled out hamburgers- I think this will be a theme of summer). I finally got in the pool for the first time. Our backyard is so shaded and breezy that I never felt the need until today when I heard Landon ask JP, "does mommy know how to float?" Um Mommy is a champion floater. And I went to an Urban Barre workout class this morning and nearly died and I felt that swimming around might help the inevitable crippling soreness I'm going to feel when I try to wear high heels tomorrow. (Seriously, almost died- my first real workout class in 7 years and somewhere in the middle of pliƩ squats my vision went black and my hands went numb and I fell quite abruptly to the floor. Embarrassing, particularly since I was the only one in the TCU area of Fort Worth without a hangover and with nothing else to do at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning so I was all alone with the instructor who then had to ask me "you doing okay?" every 5 minutes for the rest of class. But it was great and I'm really really going to try to commit to going once a week. If JP can find the time to work out every day, I can put in the time once a week.)

The kids are sleeping, JP is working, I'm about to take some prophylactic ibuprofen and then we're hitting the pool again. We fell in love with this house the moment we saw it, and really bought it in spite of the pool, but now, I think the pool is our favorite, most used part!



  1. I have no doubt that both kids with have so many awesome memories of the pool! Love claire's pig tails!

  2. Ha, I love how fearless Claire is!
    We need to do better with water safety... K really needs to learn how to swim and I need to re-learn how to swim!

  3. This post literally made me cry. Love the last pic, too die for precious.