The Swimming Saga | Tuesdays with Jacob

The Swimming Saga

September 6, 2016

One of our summer goals was to start Jacob in swimming lessons. It never happened over the summer because we weren't in one place long enough to enroll, but now that school has started back up we've settled into a steady routine. 

About a month ago we headed off to our first Saturday morning class. I was so excited. Jacob loves the water so I just knew this would be a hit. We got him all dressed and eagerly took some first day pictures. Then, we got in the water. He liked some of it - the splashing, the bus song, and the bouncing. But he also was incredibly unsure about a lot of it - the hand walking along the wall, having his face near the water, and the jumping off the side. Some of it downright scared him - floating on his back, being put underwater, and crawling across the raft. 

first day! 
It'll get better I thought, it's only our first time. So we returned the next week and this time he knew what to expect. There were tears. Anytime we did something he didn't like, he cried. When other kids in the class started to cry, my heart sank, thinking for sure they were crying because he was crying. 

By the third  week he was doing a little better. He still didn't like being on his back or going underwater, but there were some giggles when we kicked our feet and splashed off the wall. I thought finally he was settling into the routine. 

Week 4 I woke up feeling good, he had done better the week before so surely this would be the week he finally got it. I told him we were going to the pool and he started crying and saying "no pool." He threw a tantrum while we dressed him in his swimming clothes and the whole way there he said "no pool." When we got there, the crying started before we even got in the pool. He cried through all the things he liked the week before and he screamed through all the things he had never liked. His whole little body was tense as he anticipated which activity would come next.

After class, I stuck around to chat with the teacher. Please help me, what can I do to make him more comfortable in the water? She asked if we'd been practicing at home. Despite a pool in our community, we hadn't carved out time. She explained that because  Jacob was going a whole week in between lessons, he was likely forgetting a lot of what had been done the week before. We were basically starting fresh every week, with only the memory that he didn't like this the last time. 

She strongly suggested we start practicing at home, but also that we start coming twice a week. So this week we headed to our middle of the week lesson. Jacob's the only kid in the class currently so he gets to work one on one with the instructor. 

He's not doing nearly as many activities as during the weekend class, but we're focused on getting him more comfortable. There were still tears, and angry cries as he tried to tell us he wasn't happy, but he had some fun too. 

Here's hoping he continue to improves, because mom and dad aren't budging on this one: he has to learn how to swim. And mama's broken heart can't take many more of those blood curdling screams. 

It has to eventually get better right?
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