Monday, February 8, 2010

A Blog-Worthy Swim Lesson...

I was unable to take a picture of today's lesson...
I was a little busy.

If you read this blog, then you probably know me well enough to know that I gave birth to a very strong-willed child. The little Mr. has spent most of his four short years in protest. He began exerting his will from day one. After his grand entrance into this world, he thanked the doctor for his assistance by screaming and peeing all over him.

Now, it's not entirely his fault. The little Mr. didn't stand a chance. After all, as a toddler, his mother used to have a nervous breakdown at the very mention of going to the pediatrician. Therefore, the ped prescribed Valium to be given to her prior to office visits (very true was the 80's). And his father was a head banger. Both first borns.

So, given his inherited personality (and let's not leave out the sin nature), it's no surprise that, what would seemingly be an uneventful first swim lesson, would become a knock down, drag out, emotional display of wills.

You see, we've been prepping the little Mr. for two whole weeks leading up to today's lesson. We marked off the days on a calendar, chose a favorite pair of swimming trunks, and talked about the excitement of swimming. But, when the exciting day arrived, he informed me he would like to stay home...uh, oh.

Disregarding his announcement, I proceeded to pack his bag, prepare a snack and inform him (using my cheerful, this is the moment you've been waiting for, voice) that we were preparing to leave for swim lesson.

We arrived at the YMCA, unloaded ourselves and our gear and headed to the family locker room...and so the melt-down began. He refused to remove his, I did it for him, while he kicked and screamed. Then I gathered him up (along with his baby sister and all the aforementioned gear) and we hauled ourselves to the pool where he sat with a white-knuckle grip on the bench.

The teacher had obviously seen this display before, since she came over and offered her assistance. I happily handed over my son. She gathered him up and carried him kicking and screaming to the pool. That's right. He was the only kid in class screaming. As if it couldn't get any worse, he was screaming, "Help me mommy! Help me!" Sheesh! I did what I had to do...I grabbed the little miss and left the pool area. And you know what? The screaming stopped. The tantrum stopped. As a matter of fact, I peered in the window and the kid was laughing, smiling and paddling back and forth down the pool. He even jumped off the side into the water! He had a great time. He even wants to go back (not that he has a choice...5 weeks have been paid for courtesy of his Nana and Papa).

I'm certainly no parenting expert...honestly, the softie inside wanted to run back and grab my son and take him home to his comfort zone. But, then I would be teaching him to never confront his fears. He would have learned that it's okay to throw a tantrum and get what you want and that you don't have to follow through with your commitments. I don't think his strong-will is such a bad thing if we train him to use it positively. He's a great leader, he's committed to learning, and has a compassion for the needs of others. It's very likely next weeks lesson will look similar to today...but that's okay, he'll work through it. I know the other moms may shake their heads and whisper (they certainly didn't hide their stares today), but that's okay. We're working on progress here, and progress ain't pretty.


Heather said...

oh! that was fun to read! i love the part about the young child who was prescribed valum for doctor visits. :) it's also good to know not everyone's first born takes to swim lessons like a fish. we had a lady come to the house to do swim lessons with emma last summer, and emma screamed through many of her lessons. i'm surprised we didn't get calls from the neighbors. but they were probably peeking through their blinds, with phone in hand, waiting for the right time. hope next week's lesson goes more smoothly and he remembers what fun it was. good luck! :)

Nikki said...

H...isn't it scary to think you're former roomie took valium as a child...explains a lot doesn't it?! LOL! Wow, I was shocked that Emma didn't like lessons! She's a great swimmer now! So, there's hope!