JJ started swimming lessons last night. Something that has been put off and should have started a year or more ago.....I will fully admit that I am mostly responsible for that, because I have been dreading it. I know how terrified he was of the water, and I have seen him freak out and become a hot mess because we have asked him to get in a pool and just sit with us (toddler pool at a hotel). I was in knots all day yesterday because I was so worried about it. But, it is something we want him (and Cari, eventually) to do. Neither Jim or I swim (or at least not well enough to do any good really). Jim does a bit better than I do....he doesn't mind the water....I am not at all comfortable in it.
So, upon recommendations from family, we choose Foss Swim School, which is expensive, but if they can get him to feel comfortable in the water, then it is well worth it. We arrive at Foss last night, having registered him for the spring session just 2 days before. And so as to not really giving him a lot of time to obsess over it, I only just told him about it Wednesday night. I reminded him of things he has tried that were scary at first but he loved them, and also that knowing how to be safe in the water was something mommy and daddy felt was important so we really weren't giving him an option.
Anyway, back to arrival at Foss. I take JJ in to a changing room and get him all set.....as the clothes come off, he becomes more tense, and I can feel it starting. The tears start falling and he keeps saying he changed his mind. Reminding him that wasn't an option, we step forward, and move through the doors into the pool area, where there is a lot of noise and activity from the 7 or 8 classes going on all at once. We walk to the 'shower area' to rinse off before getting in the pool. Jim is a 'pool guy' (meaning he has a pool license and can operate and maintain pools) and insists that we have him rinse off - even though there are many other kids who obviously have not. JJ freaked out about standing under the shower, even for just a second. But, we managed to get just a tiny bit wet...which was all I asked for at that point...and headed to our area of the pool.
Foss is awesome! They only have like 3 kids in a class at a time. This really allows for a more individualized approach! So, he walked to his teacher, and starts to freak out again. She convinces him to sit on the edge of the pool with his feet in the water to see how it feels. One of the most awesome things about Foss is that their pools are like 90*. So right away, that helps! She has him in the water in 30 seconds, and already our entire class fee has paid for itself in my eyes. There are 2 other little girls in his class. They are younger, but more willing participants. She has them use what I refer to as a 'floating dumbell', because that is what it looks like. They put their arms over it, and she helps them kick to a platform about 10 feet away. The other two kick like crazy.....JJ holds on for dear life to the teacher, BUT also has his feet up and is kicking some! I am truely amazed! And I am in tears, because I have been so worked up over this, and he is doing so much better than I ever imagined on the first day!
It gets better. The first night of class, they evalutate part way through the lesson to see if the kids are in the right class. JJ is most definitely in the right class...the other 2 girls were doing more than he was, more willingly, and thus they were moved up to the next level.....which essentially meant, a teacher in the next lane moved them over there, and they started doing things with her.....and JJ now has the teacher all to himself. He ended the lesson by having had put his face in the water for 4 seconds while kicking and holding the dumbell. 4 seconds....face in the water! I cried again! I was so proud of this accomplisment, for my little boy who was so terrified!
The 2nd round in the showers wasn't nearly as bad either, and he even let me soap him up and wash his hair!
He was rewarded for doing such a great job for the first night. We went to Target, and he got to pick out his very own towel to use for swimming each week! And we got him some new swimming trunks too, as his were actually a bit small.
Last night at bedtime, he told me he wished swimming lessons were every night!