Since Aiden became a toddler, I've always thought that whoever coined the phrase "patience is a virtue," must have been referring to their toddler son. And now I'm beginning to think that it was during their son's swimming lessons.
I learned how to swim when I was 9 years old. It was during the summer before going into the 4th grade at sleep away camp. Homeward Bound. I loved that place! Amongst other things like hiking, canoeing, and sleeping in a tent in the middle of the woods, I learned how to swim. I figured that 9 years old was pretty late to learn how to swim and all about water safety so I decided to give Aiden a head start on his water sports.
So we finished up his last Gymboree Play and Learn class a few weeks ago (it starts back up in the Fall) and since then we've been spending our Saturday mid-mornings (thank goodness it's not early mornings) at one of the YMCA's in NYC (love it!).
The week before his first swimming class, Little Dippers (such a cute name!), I was super excited. I prepped him like crazy and kept telling him how much fun he would have in the pool with all his new friends. I even bought him a new pair of swim trunks. A little excessive, I know!
He seemed excited at home, but once we got to the pool, this did not work. Maybe it was because of the huge size of the pool or something, but my lovely Aiden was not excited to go swimming. At all.
So... we sat on the edge of the pool. The. Entire. Time. As I watched the other "little dippers" learn the proper way to climb in and out of the pool, jump into the pool, blow bubbles, use a floating noodle, swim on their stomachs and on their backs, I sighed and great sigh.
Then the thoughts poured in: What a waste of money! Does he know what I could be doing with this money? I could be somewhere shopping... for shoes! I should just force him in there and he'll get over it eventually.
But then I had all these images in my head of him having a lifelong fear of water or, even worse, of him hating me because I forced him in the water.
So I just sat there at the edge of the pool with him on my lap and pointed out how much fun all the other "little dippers" were having. He liked that a lot. He even clapped for some of them as they did their thing. After he clapped, the instructor and I would ask him if he wanted to try, in which he would respond, "No. Aiden no want to try!" or "No. I okay."
Hey, we tried.
But patience really is a virtue.
For some reason, he was afraid that he was going to fall to the bottom of the pool (their lessons are in the 3 feet deep section), and he would constantly ask, "I not going to fall down there?" Once the instructor and I convinced him that he wasn't, what a difference! Really, what a difference a few weeks make!
Now he loves the pool! And he talks about swimming all the time. And his favorite toy during the "free play" time is the squirting submarine, which he LOVES and raves about all the time. He climbs in, climbs out, jumps into the pool, blows bubbles, and swims on his stomach. We're still working on him being comfortable enough to swim on his back.
Since his new found love of swimming, he's been saying to me, "Mommy, I want to go to a cool" [translation: cool = pool]. He even stopped to let me take this picture of him on my blackberry. A little blurry, but funny, right?
Even though it took me doubting myself and my decision to put him in swimming classes (hey, we all do that sometimes, right?), I'm so happy that he's there. And learning. And I'm even more happy that he's absolutely loving it.