Whether it was for pure survival skills or because we were letting the pools go to waste at Walt Disney World, it was only a matter of time until I put the girls in swim lessons. Their mother also likes to take them to Great Wolf Lodge and they can only wear floaties for so long. While this class only lasted for two months, it was an excellent introduction into the wonderful world of swimming.
We are lucky because there are several opportunities to get swim lessons in southeast Arizona. We can get lessons on post, at the local pool in Sierra Vista, or go up to Tucson for public or private lessons. Because I had missed the window for the lessons on post, we ended up going to The Cove Aquatic Center, the local facility in town. I signed them up for two months worth of lessons, ending right before they left for Spring Break with their mother.
Aside from their Dad showing up about 20 minutes early for their first lesson (thank you very much, Army mission creep!), the girls were really excited to start learning how to swim. They changed out of their street clothes (because it was still freezing in the morning) and got ready for Day One. And since we were there so early, the girls had plenty of time to stretch.
They gave me a big hug before walking towards the pool. They met their swim teacher. Then they followed him and started into the water.
And that is when the crying started. First it was Gabriella. Then it was Elaina. I am pretty sure at one point they were both crying. And all before they had even gotten in water that was higher than their knees. And because they eventually had to learn how to swim, I was stuck somewhere between “You never have to go to this evil place again!” and “Who’s kids are these?”
I finally got Gabriella to settle down enough that she followed her teacher into the water and waded over to the poolside where they would practice. Elaina really did not want to leave me, so I ended up walking her alongside the pool and then helping her down the ladder to the training area. She cried the whole way. I felt terrible, but they really need to learn to swim, and if I give in now, it will just be harder the next time.
So with one lesson in the books, the girls were pretty happy that they “learned to swim,” asking me if they could bring their floaties next week. Negative 10 points for Gryffindor. But I would still call it a successful lesson, as a little crying was to be expected.
Day Two went a lot better. The girls knew what to expect and were actually pretty excited to get back in the pool. Just let everything else with kids, routine always helps make things easier by being predictable.
This time around they listened to their instructor. They did not cry while they were walking into the pool. And they did not look back, focusing entirely on the lesson, instead of Dad getting farther and farther away from them. Pretty good for Day Two.
Things got a little better every day. They listened to their teacher more a little each day and they wanted to stay longer and longer in the pool. Their mother has already got them enrolled in swim lessons while they are visiting her, so hopefully they come back prepared to continue their lessons here.
And of course, the warm pool was their favorite part, which they did at the end of every one of their lessons.
With Elaina in dance and both girls in swimming, it is about time that Gabriella get into another activity as well (she becomes old enough for dance in July). All in all, the girls did great and showed a vast improvement in their two months of lessons. And they enjoyed it, so there should be no issue with them wanting to jump back into the pool. Since it is a skill that they are going to need to learn eventually, one that will benefit them for the rest of their lives, they are going to have to keep at it until they can swim. Thank you very much for checking in on us and I hope your attempt at swim lessons went as well as theirs.