Thursday, August 2, 2012

. . . the pool, like a pro.

Last year, at four-and-five-months, we-the-parents enrolled our precious girl in swimming lessons at the YMCA.  Ah, the thrill of it, our little baby learning to swim.  Ah, the wonder, the dreams, the plans - weekends at the beach with our growing girl gliding through the waves, Saturdays spent at some remote mountain lake watching her sweet face popping up out of the water, holidays at the Auntie and Uncle's with pool time meaning real swimming.  We-the-family were set.  We-the-family were excited.  It was going to be grand!

The sweetest girl was excited, too. Right up until the moment she had to step through the fence into the pool area and walk over to the group of children waiting with greatly mixed emotions for the class to begin.  Some of the children seemed happy and excited to be there.  Most of the children seemed to have buddies already in attendance.  And little Bee was absolutely terrified.

She was terrified, but brave. She walked with her very loud, very jolly, very bold swim coach over to the side of the pool.  She followed instructions and sat down on the edge.  But when the stranger (because that's what he was, honestly, a stranger) tried to coax her into the water by picking her up, the tears began.

She did get into the water.  And she did do the first floating task.  But once the coach pushed her under the water, she was done.  Frankly, so was her mother.

Needless to say, the week wasn't what we expected and we did not spend the rest of the summer vacationing a-la 'Baby' at some amazing mountain lake resort.

In the end, brave girl switched to a softer, gentler coach, a sweet and kind young lady who had exactly the right touch, and Averie spent the remaining weeks of swim class happily kicking around on a board, blowing bubbles and splashing safely and confidently.

A year later, we-the-parents were certain we would absolutely not enroll the five and five month girl in the program again.  We would be the ones to lovingly and kindly teach our Bee to swim.  And our first adventure of the year took place at the aforementioned Auntie and Uncle's pad - a ten day vacation which saw the six of us spending every single day in the pool.  It was grand.  It was fun. It was the best part of the summer.

Even with the amazing coaching of her Uncle, a great swimmer and former life guard, Averie still refused to  venture into the realm of swimming.  Even with a flotation device strapped around her chest, she would not pick up her tiny little feet and kick.

Until we returned home and took a Saturday trip up to the YMCA, the same spot that saw the disaster of last year's teaching attempts.  But this time, this year, this summer, the bravest swimmer, the fastest swimmer in the world (take that Michael Phelps), strapped on her life-vest, stepped into the pool and SWAM her way , past the three-foot-six-inch mark, all the way to the four-foot-six-inch-mark!  Over and over, around and around, up and down the length and width of the pool she went.

She was amazing.  Day after day, she continued.  A trip to the natatorium saw the same determined strokes, this time all the way to the deepest part of the pool.  Say it again, she was amazing.

And we-the-parents, as the proud parents of an amazing swimmer, the fastest one in the world, again look forward to next summer's trip to the mountains, where in some freshwater lake, (maybe at a place like Kellerman's) we'll celebrate with our little fish.