Monday, July 05, 2004

Swimming Lesson Gone Bad
When Kimmy was three I started taking her to the "big pool" as she called it. Western Michigan University had family swim time on Saturday afternoons. For a couple of dollars we could use the university "big pool" for a few hours.

The shallowest water was four feet deep, way over little Kimmy's head. At first she sat on my hip and hung on tight as we waltzed around in the water. Later she got a little braver and paddled around with a flotation device.

That spring I signed her up for swimming lessons at Western. The students earned money by teaching the kids how to swim. I had high expectations.

Kimmy was willing and excited. I felt no qualms about leaving the pool area when they told the adults to get lost, and she didn't mind that I was leaving. We were allowed to go very high up in the bleachers and watch the lesson, so that's what I did.

She got put in a group with two little boys and a male instructor. The guy was clueless about kids.

The first thing he did was stand them on a small platform out in the middle of the four feet deep water. They could stand on the platform and have their head and chest out of the water. That was good.

Then, for some reason, the instructor left the group. The two boys started throwing water on Kimmy. Lots of water. She couldn't get away. She couldn't make them stop. I heard her screaming, "I want my grandma! I want my grandma NOW!"

By the time I got down to pool level she was semi hysterical. One of the lifeguards brought her to the edge of the pool and we went to the locker room. She cried and cried and cried - horrible deep sobs while I hugged her on my lap.

When she was done crying she said, "I like the pool. I don't like swimming lessons. I don't like boys!" We never went back.

We found other places to swim and gradually through the years she learned how to do all the water basics without swimming lessons.

Kimmy swimming in the deep end.

The Deep End
Kimmy is eight years old now. This is the first year we've let Kimmy go into the deep end by herself. She has fun jumping into nine feet of water and seeing how far down she can go.

In this picture, she's proudly swimming across the deep end. And proud Grandma and Great-Grandma are watching her show off.

I've been freezing in this unheated pool with Kimmy for the past three years. This year I've declared myself too old to swim in cold water. There have to be some advantages to getting old.

Mom not getting some sunThe pool is at Great-Grandma Monette's apartment complex.

This is Great-Grandma poolside and NOT working on a tan.

This summer Kimmy lives in an apartment complex that also has a pool. She gets to swim often and should be part fish by the end of the summer.

How did you learn how to swim?