On the day Australia won its first gold medal in the pool in Delhi, the Fibro boys headed back to swimming lessons. (The timing was entirely coincidental, but offered a lovely opening so I thought I’d go with it.)
Having slogged it out through every week of a cold, hard winter last year, we decided to give the flu germs a rest this year and have the cold season off. It proved an entirely positive decision.
Last year, we (and I do mean we in every sense of the word) suffered (and I do mean suffered in every sense of the word) through innumerable ear infections, bouts of tonsilitis and, oh yes, the swine flu (renamed Man Flu around here as everyone got it but me).
This year, a couple of runny noses and a hacking cough. Some might say that those two terms out of the pool have derailed my children’s Olympic dreams. I say, whatevs (with accompanying shrug).
It’s true that there have been some setbacks. Mr6 is still stuttering on the verge of ‘the click’. You know that moment when they go from looking like epileptic frogs with windmill arms to resembling Ian Thorpe. He’s still at the windmill stage, the stage where you wonder if he’ll manage to roll over and take that essential breath. But so close. Today, he managed two lots of four strokes with connecting breath before disappearing underwater in a mass of bubbles and hair.
Mr3 doesn’t want to go back tomorrow. It is sad. He was so enthusiastic this morning. Mostly because there were new goggles in the offing (you know how he loves an accessory). He looked the part as he strode to the pool deck in his tiny little budgie smugglers and matching blue goggles – just like a racing tadpole, as my Dad would say.
Then he discovered that his new instructor, Nick, is male and will not melt at the sight of Mr3’s smiling face. Oh no. Instead, he wants him to actually, you know, swim. He had a go. He floated, put his face in the water, all the stationary stuff. But once he had to, you know, swim, it all went out the window. He forgot to paddle. He’s supposed to paddle, paddle, paddle while he kick, kick, kicks. Instead, he sank, sank, sank.
Not happy Nick.
We’ll be back tomorrow. Four days in a row, an intensive program, to kickstart them for next term. Mr6 can’t wait. Mr3 will have to be thrown in to make him get wet. But I’ll do it if I have to.
Swimming lessons are the only form of legalised torture I condone. They can be agony to watch, as your child shivers and quivers and sinks and screams. But I sit on the side, cheering and ‘thumbs up’ping in the face of their despair.
If you live in Australia, you have to be able to swim. If you live in Fibrotown, with some of the world’s greatest beaches on your doorstep, it goes beyond a life skill and into a lifestyle skill.
By the end of the week, Mr3 will have stopped screaming. With any luck, he’ll be paddling with style. And Mr6 – well, here’s hoping for ‘the click’.
Are your kids in swimming lessons? How do you cope with the screaming?