Thursday, June 23, 2011

swim lessons & mom griping

This is the week of summer I've been dreading the most. I am so exhausted by the prospect of getting through each day that I can't even talk it over with David at night -- it's like living it is bad enough, I can't compound that by also talking about it (writing, on the other hand, is cathartic!). And the sad thing is that any words I use to explain why I knew it would be (and it is) just awful won't do its awfulness justice.

The kids all have different things going on in the mornings, and they are taking swim lessons in the afternoons. This is Jacob's and Elizabeth's third year, and Caroline's first. Jacob is already a strong swimmer, but loves this teacher and wanted to take lessons again, so we signed him up for a strokes class. Elizabeth is *thisclose* to making the breakthrough to true swimmer, so she's in an advanced beginner class. Caroline is a beginner, of course.

The teacher has been teaching swimming in her backyard for almost 20 years. When we were looking to sign the kids up for swimming lesson a few years ago, the same name kept coming up again and again from people in my many different worlds. And she lives up to her hype. She's a high school math teacher, so she has the teaching gene -- she's that perfect combination of patient, firm, and nurturing -- and she knows how to teach kids to swim. And the kids adore her.

So the problem is not the swim lessons, insofar as the actual swim lessons are concerned, but the logistics of managing three hours of back-to-back-to-back swim lessons for three kids (two of whom are not actually in a lesson at any given time) at a house without a bathroom (of course she has a bathroom in her house, I assume, but would YOU want 100 wet children trekking through your house every week?). That means a whole lot of driving back and forth to a bathroom at a nearby park; wrestling with wet swimsuits and halfway compliant girls during the numerous potty trips, running back and forth to Publix or the gas station for snacks and/or just to kill time while the older kids are in their lesson; waiting out thunderstorms in the hot pool house; and generally enduring three hours a day managing two bored/whiney kids while the third is in his/her lesson, while sweating and swatting mosquitos. See, I know that words just don't convey the magnitude of its awfulness. It sounds like "Gee Cathy, so you're telling me you are spending a bunch of time this week DRIVING and WAITING?! Better get used to it, sister, as this is pretty much 75% of parenting children of a certain age!" I know, I KNOW. But trust me, I can drive and wait all day long with the best of them with a smile on my face and a positive, can-do attitude, but this is so so so much worse than the average driving and waiting experience. The only people who truly understand are the other swim lesson moms. Thankfully, it's a good bunch this year and they are more than happy to sit and complain with me!

But it's all worth it when I see my baby jumping into the pool and swimming under water!

She is SOOOOOO proud of herself!

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