Saturday, July 07, 2007

But Not Underneath

Jarrah is taking swimming lessons right now at the YMCA. It's a two-week immersion program (hee hee) with parent participation. The Rupperts are in our class, too, by design, and a handy design it is, since they have been very helpful both in the water and out.

So far we've had a different teacher each time, and the second one, Miss Kaitlin, was better. Miss Nicki was perfectly sweet, but Miss Kaitlin was a bit more hands-on with the suggestions. And by the second lesson we were needing more suggestions because, well, Jarrah is not a natural fish.

The skills we've been learning include arm stroking, kicking, back-floating, ducking under and climbing out of the pool. I'm not being sarcastic about the last one--turns out that a big part of child water safety involves being able to get oneself out of the water once one has gone in. Most of these skills are accompanied by little songs, and sometimes the kids get a ball to throw and then swim towards it. Jarrah doesn't like to throw her ball, and when she does, she prefers that I convey her to the ball through my own efforts rather than hers.

And that's about where we are skill-wise, Dear Readers. Jarrah is very fond of the water, and I am fond of being in it with her, as she snuggles in my arms and hugs me for a half-hour that she otherwise wouldn't, since she's not a hugger. She hasn't cried or seemed scared, but she has some definite ideas about what she will and will not do in a pool. For starters, she doesn't want her face wet. She does not want to blow bubbles. She doesn't want to kick. She doesn't want to lay on her back. When gently coerced into prone positions where she begins to feel unsafe, her voice gets high and shrill and she repeats "No, thank you! No, thank you!" until I bring her back to hugging position. Strangely, though, she seems completely relaxed, smiling and laughing, until prodded out of her comfort zone. I guess that sounds like most of us.

There's a song that accompanies the dunking exercise that concludes the lesson, and it goes "Tick-tock! Tick-tock! I'm a little cuckoo clock! Tick-tock! Tick-tock! Now I'm ticking one o'clock!" Apparently, kids can be persuaded to dunk better if they get used to having their ears wet, so the teachers have encouraged us to wag the children from side to side during the "tick-tock" part, toss them in the air at "o'clock," and finish with a mutual dunking. We don't get that far, though, because Jarrah starts yelling, "No tick-tock! No tick-tock!" and clings to my torso like a barnacle. And you know what, Readers? I find that I don't much want to dunk, either. I've done it a few times, to be a sport, but it seems awfully wet and chemical-y. How was I ever on the swim team? Because, we've been told, going underneath is part of swimming. Who knew?

In any case, Jarrah is not in a rush to master basic water safety. I'm trying to be okay with that. I hear that being okay with things is a big part of parenting. Wish me luck.


Robyn said...

Hey there! Yes, being O.K. with things is definitely a part of parenting. A difficult part, but one we all get better at with time. Jared likes to bob around the pool with his floaties but he's not so much interested in dipping his head in the water, either. Swimming, like potty training, will happen when they are darn good and ready and not a moment before. Have fun in the swimming class. I'm happy to hear that you get some hugging time in. That in itself is worth the class, even if she's not water-ready by the end! Miss you guys!



Mary and Paul said...

I agree with Robyn! And, this is the first of many classes. We are having a great time with you guys!

Besides, her hugs are the best!



Anonymous said...

Yeah--Jarrah has plenty of time to learn to swim, and you can enjoy every hug-filled minute of it! That is so cute about her saying, "No, thank you!

Sage loves her YMCA swimming lessons, too, even though she is equally uninterested in going along with most of the prescribed activities. After our first week, if I made the mistake of reminding her about the lesson we'd had, she would start insisting on "Y" and would get very upset when I told her we couldn't up and drive there to get back in the pool!

I hope it continues to be fun. Jarrah will always make it interesting!


Cheri said...

Laura tried to run for the parking lot during her first swim lesson with her future swim-team coach in full chase behind her. I caught it much of the first lesson on video, showed it to Tom later that night, and he said incredulously, "I thought you said it went okay." "Well," I told Tom, "I guess okay is a relative term, as in, okay, her instructor caught her before she took off in our Lexus." Now, of course, she's a little fish.

Come swim at our house again soon! Laura would love to show Jarrah and Joy a good time!

Anonymous said...

"no tick tock" -- so funny! I think the best lesson is that she knows what she does and doesn't like and she's able to clearly articulate when something is going over her boundaries -- now that's something that every little girl should be learning! :) lix