Monday, April 27, 2009

First Day of Swimming Lessons

So, today was our first day of swimming lessons. James had no clue, but I have been anticipating this event for several days now. We arrive at the dive shop where the pool is located and meet the instructor in the parking lot. She is a bubbly, cute woman and James immediately smiled and waved at her. She asked him for a high-five and then he proceeded to give her "knuckles". Yes, our boy is that cool. The instructor then commented that that would probably be the last time he would be so friendly with her. I started to worry then.

I had heard that many children cry throughout the lesson and even the Parent Resource Guide that I received in the mail prepared me for the level of anxiety that accompanies most of the swim lessons.

Since each lesson is only 10 minutes long (albeit the LONGEST ten minutes ever), I thought that maybe the first day would be an easy one. Not so much......

James went right to the instructor in the water, then the work began. Today, they worked on finding the side of the pool (a brightly colored pole easily accessible for small children). The side of the pool means AIR and an exit point, so this is an important lesson. James went under several times, but he always came up grabbing for the pole and was kicking/reaching/swimming towards it. As much as I prepared myself, it was very hard to see him struggling and crying and going under (all under the watchful supervision of the instructor, but still.)

She was commenting on his performance, checking his vitals (temperature, bloating, burping, fatigue, etc) and giving him swim cues all at the same time. She noted how active he was and how his energy level was very high (tell me something I don't know!). He used good swimming form and immediately rolled onto his back for a floating position. Although I was on pins and needles, she said he had an excellent first lesson. After his ten minute lesson, he was completely exhausted. I let him lay by the side of the pool for about 15 minutes. He needed it to catch his breath and just regroup. Poor thing.

During James' lesson (see, I told you it was a long ten minutes!) I met another mom whose little girl was in a lesson after James. Her little girl was one month younger than James. The mom explained that three weeks ago, the little girl had fallen into their pool. When she found her, she was blue and non responsive. The mom commented that she's just lucky she knew CPR.

My eyes welled up with tears and all I could think of was the importance of these swim lessons.

I shared this story not to scare you, but just as a precaution because children do die of drowning every day. And it is something 100% preventable.

Sorry for the buzz kill.


  1. Oh Kalani, this is such a great story. We do not have that problem of having a pool right outside our door, but I see the importance of teaching the kids to swim. I can imagine how you must've been feeling watching him in and out of the water!!! Keep us posted on James' progress. Good luck!

  2. Yes, Kalani - very good story and you are 100% correct. Hugh fell in the pool while we were at the beach this weekend. Jim was RIGHT there and he only went under for a second, but the look of fear on Hugh's face was horrible. Thank the Lord Jim was in the water and grabbed him right away. Jim was more upset than anyone. He immediate got a life jacket and Hugh wore it the rest of the time. Swimming lessons are in our future this summer, too.