Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Swimming, Shivering, and Sobbing: Summer Fun!

Julia started summer swimming lessons yesterday. You may recall that she is scared of swimming, which is why we keep insisting she take swimming lessons. So far she's had two bouts--one week last August of daily one-on-one private lessons, which was relatively expensive and somewhat intense for her, and six weeks of once per week group community-ed lessons last winter, which traumatized her the first day but which after that she enjoyed. Her current class is a repeat of the winter class, only in the summer it's held every day for two weeks, and meets outdoors at the city pool. Only yesterday at 9:15 a.m. when her lesson began, it was 60 degrees, overcast, and very breezy. In other words, freezing to death. Julia stood shivering and blue in the shallow end of the pool with her ten or so other four- and five-year-old classmates, and cried. A lot. It was a bit of a nightmare. Even worse, we have to go back today. And tomorrow. And the day after. You get the picture.

I feel terrible making her do something she's so scared of, but I know it needs to be done. She has to learn to swim at least passably, for safety reasons. And it's total hell growing up in outdoorsy, lake-y Minnesota if you can't swim. Plus, there's P.E. class later on in middle and/or high school, when you do a swimming unit, and if you're one of only two people in your class who can't swim or dive, uh...."total hell" does not even begin to cover it. I know this from experience, people.

I've heard and read that it's best to start lessons around age four, even if they're scared; it gets harder the older they get if they haven't been exposed much to water. Sadly, we can't afford to go to our city pool often enough for Julia to get used to the water on her own, and we don't own a lake cabin (note to non-Minnesotan readers: having "a cabin"--a cottage on any one of the states many thousands of lakes, for summer/weekend getaways--is ubiquitous around here). All I ask is that she learn to put her face in the water, float, and at the very least manage a dog paddle, water treading, and/or a passable swimming stroke of some kind---anything to eventually be able to stay afloat and move around in the water in a safe way that does not require a parent to be at her side during every moment of recreational swimming.

In order to get her to stop worrying and whimpering enough to go to sleep last night, I promised her that if she went to her lesson today, we'd go to the local indie bookstore Monkey See Monkey Read (which has a very cute children's corner in the back) to look at the books and toys. (Not necessarily to buy, but to look, read, and play.) She then added a request to bake homemade brownies. With sprinkles on top. Looks like I'd better get busy thinking of a bribe for every remaining lesson! (Note: it is FIFTY-EIGHT DEGREES OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW. I would not want to go swimming either!)

In other news, I've done two days of the 30 Day Shred and it feels like 20. Whose crazy idea was this, anyway?


Mnmom said...

Poor thing, but you're right. She HAS to learn to swim for safety reasons. Bribes are good, and they aren't bribes - they are rewards for doing the right thing or facing a difficult challenge. Whatever gets her in the water.

PS - this weather is just WRONG

Trish said...

Jillian M is TOUGH. I do the 30 Day...well not everyday...but I find it fun :) You should read this review....so hilarious. And the reason I even bought it, LOL http://thewwchick.blogspot.com/2009/02/shreddin-with-jillian-day-1.html

Shan said...

Trish, that review WAS funny! Ha! Well, luckily I did not have quite that difficult of an experience. But my goodness, it is hard! And I'm on Level 1! If I wasn't already a regular exerciser, and therefore in decent shape to start, I fear I'd be dead.

Christopher Tassava said...

As usual, I'm in agreement with Mnmom - rewards are a sign of esteem and a benefit of doing something you don't want to do. I'm fully in favor, especially when those two cuties choose wonderful books as their rewards!