I cannot begin to describe how much my heart ached to watch him follow the teacher back to the pool with all the other kids and then again when I got up to the parent's observation deck and watched as he put his towel down and followed the directions he was given to go sit on the edge of the pool to wait for an instructor to come test his abilities. I had so much anxiety on his behalf! What if he can't find his towel when he's done? What if they don't explain each and every action to the satisfaction of his little heart and he with his super-logical four-year-old brain stands there frozen as he tries to figure things out for himself? Good Lord, they put me up on the observation deck knowing that I was watching and that there was no way he would be able to hear me if I needed to yell instructions to him- I was powerless! Of course, as I try hard to make a point to let him learn how to deal in certain situations on his own I was also grateful that the decision whether or not to intercede when he needed help was taken out of my hands, but as every parent knows, that's not just your baby walking around out there... that's your heart!
So yeah, it was hard to watch and not be able to help, but it was good for me. And I did a good job even if I didn't really have a choice ;)
That first day was great! They had them each get in the water one-on-one with an instructor to have the instructor assess their abilities, then they had the kids get out and find their towels and bring them over to sit with an instructor that was assigned to their skill level along with three other kids that were on their same level. And yes, Jack had a little bit of a hard time remembering where he put his towel, but once he found it and found his teacher, Amber, everything was smooth sailing!
A few photos from his class that first day:
As you can see, he loved swim class! He talked about Amber all the time, and he told me all about how he learned about blowing bubbles and making "big scoops" with his arms. He has never been afraid of the water, and he really enjoyed getting to swim! He was also very proud of the stamp (or as he called it, "stant") he earned at the end of each class! (And Sam was always extremely happy to talk to Jack when the class was over, too!)
He had swim class every morning for 2 weeks, and he talked about swim class and Amber all day long! One day after swim class while we were walking to the car he said "Do you think Amber has a car? I don't think she lives at the pool!" Even though his classes were only 30 minutes, I could see how much he was learning and I was so proud of him! Granted, my child was definitely the least coordinated child in the pool, and his "swimming" probably looked more like drowning, but what he lacks in grace he definitely makes up for in enthusiasm!
Oh, and in case there was any question about whether or not his flailing is actually swimming... on the last day of his class Jack got to prove how much he had learned when he accidentally fell in to the deep end of the pool while the instructor was busy with another child!!! From up in my can't-do-anything-about-anything position on the observation deck my heart leapt up to my throat as I watched with pride while my baby was able to save himself! As I said, his flailing may look more like drowning than swimming, but it works! And he always emerges with a smile on his face!
Here are a few photos and video of him on his second-to-the-last day of class (Amber wasn't going to be there the last day so I wanted to document his last class with her rather than with the substitute). It's amazing how much further he has come since this class, now that I'm watching these again!
(the hiccup in this movie is my shutter- I snapped a picture while it was filming)
Oh, and notice how Jack doesn't jump into the pool so much as he leans and plops in? We worked on that and since then he has actually learned to jump into the pool ;)
And just for good measure, my sidekick! He was such a good boy while Jack was in his lessons, and he had a lot of fun watching him, too! (If you look closely in the second picture you can see Jack in the background!)