Today marks the last day of a two-week journey in our household...swimming lessons. This was our first year with all three kids in lessons. Last year Matthew and I hung out in the shade trying to stay cool while Joshua and Anna had their first-time swimmers' class. This year we joined in the fun with the Parent-Tot class. It was fun. It was a good experience. It was a wonderful chance to get great quality time with Matthew, just him and me. It was an important opportunity for both Anna and Joshua to learn they can do things they've never tried before, like putting their face in the water or jumping off the diving boards. It was an incredibly important thing for the kids to do as we want them to learn to be good swimmers.
It was exhausting. I'm glad it's over.
During the past two weeks, I have made a number of observations and learned some remarkable things, and to that end, I give you the Swimming Lessons Lessons of 2012:
1. I am the only parent my age to not have a tattoo. This is said neither as a judgment nor as a statement of regret. Just an observation.
2. There are women who have children the age of my own that not only have 10 different bikinis to wear but the body to go in them. DANG.
3. A four-year-old girl - who can sit for hours of PBS Kids without visiting the bathroom once - simply cannot go an entire 50 minute swimming lesson without making her teacher take her to the restroom.
4. The teachers of the 3-5 year old class are saints.
5. There is quite a bit of psychology that goes into making a two-year-old perform his swimming lesson exercises. The toddler boy who refuses to throw his diving ring and go get it will happily "help" his mother who "dropped" the ring...four feet away from where she is sitting.
6. When in doubt, pretend your two-year-old is Buzz Lightyear. Then he'll do anything. He will also shout "to infinity and BEYOND!" while doing it, which is a bonus because it's freakishly cute.
7. There is nothing quite like the mixture of terror and pride one feels when watching one's six-year-old jump off the diving board for the first time.
8. It does not matter how well you plan or how much you prepare. When trying to get four people out the door to swimming lessons, there is about an 80% chance you will be late.
9. Teach your oldest child to put sunscreen on your back as soon as he or she is able to reasonably do so. Do not say "oh well, I think I got enough on my back, should be good..."
10. Spray-on sunscreen is a gift from God.
11. A six-year-old boy who scrapes his toe on the bottom of the pool will not get out to address the injury. He's going to go right on playing until they call for everyone to get out of the pool, and only then will he remember to show you the gushing wound.
12. Lifeguards are amazing. When your six-year-old's foot is gushing blood,
they don't blink an eye - they just throw him on their back piggy-back
style and haul them up to the first-aid station faster than you can say
"ANNA AND MATTHEW GET YOUR SHOES ON NOW WE HAVE TO GO HELP YOUR
13. Given the opportunity to put his own shoes on, a two-year-old has a 50% shot of getting them on the right feet. This makes no difference. He will put them on the wrong feet 100% of the time.
14. Always put your toddler in the bathtub to take off the swimming diaper or you will have a carpet full of urine to clean up.
15. It is sad to see your time in the parent-tot class come to an end because it was fun to get so much one-on-one time with your youngest...and yet there is a sense of great anticipation when you realize that next year you are going to get an hour every day for two weeks to sit in the shade and read.
See you next year!