Last week we finished up our two week sentence of swim lessons. It felt like two years. My boys absolutely love to swim, I am shocked that they don't have gills. The problem is that Connor is an excellent five year old swimmer, Hudson is a two year old non-swimmer who doesn't realize it. In his mind he is the most fantastic swimmer of all time and who cares if he doesn't have any actual swimming skills. This is stressful for me. I tried to give the swim teacher a heads up before we started. She has been Connor's teacher for three years, but I wanted to make sure she was clear that I was not bringing Connor Jr. to lessons this summer. I tried to be very open and honest about Hudson's attention span, energy level and complete and total absence of fear. She thought I was exagerrating.
The first day went okay. The policy in these lessons is the you have an assigned spot in the shallow end and when it is not your turn with the teacher, you must stay hanging on to the wall in your assigned spot. Problem number one. The four other students were all tall enough to touch in the shallow end and therefore had no trouble staying in their spot. Enter Hudson, the world's tiniest 35 month old. He, with the tiny t-rex arms, was not able to muscle up enough strength to hang on to the side for two consecutive minutes. The teacher's solution was to have him sit on the side until it was his turn again. This led to all kinds of confusion. Although the wait for his turn was literally two minutes, as soon as his rear plopped onto the side, he thought he was finished for the day and started calling for his towel wench to bring him his batman towel. "Mommy, I done. I need towel please." "No, you aren't done yet, it is almost your turn again." "Mommy, I need towel. Dry off. I DONE!" and on and on. All in all not a bad first day. We spent that first evening going over the procedures so tomorrow he might understand it better.
The next few days were a blur, he caught on to the waiting your turn process but then became obsessed with catching up with the big kids. She would set him on the side and he would immediately decide he could wait in the pool, hanging onto the side like everyone else......and he could do it by himself. Thus began the revolving door of sliding into the pool and climbing out of the pool during swim lessons. He would cling to the side for as long as he had the strength and then oh so painfully drag himself back out to sit. He almost lost a nipple on several occasions from all the concrete on skin friction.
So on to the actual swimming. He is a natural. He had a great kick, and could move his arms like a tiny Michael Phelps. What he could not do, however, is shut his dang mouth. He would jump into the teacher's arms, start kicking like crazy and then talk her head off. It was like his own personal floating party line. She would say, "Put your face in Hudson" and he would go under, mouth wide open, then break the surface spitting out a stream of water that would put the fountains at Caesars Palace to shame. He rarely swallowed the water, he just held it until he could spout it out like a whale. It was frustrating to say the least. The next problem was the constant chatter. She would be pulling him around the pool, practicing his kicks and instead of putting his face in, he would be peppering her with questions. "What's that?" That's my swim suit. "Oh. What's that?" That is still my swimsuit. "You see bird?" Yes I saw that bird. Can you put your face in? "Ok, I do it." Then my personal favorite part of lessons. When his turn was over he would climb out of the pool, raise his fists in the air and yell,"I did it Mom! I so awesome! I svim awesome!" By the way, Hudson pronounces all variations of the word swim like he is fresh from the mother land. Oh and to add one more element to Hudson's turn, Connor always felt like it was his brotherly duty to scream out encouragement from the wall. Hudson ate it up with a spoon. So now we had Connor on the sidelines, "Hudson! You're doing it! You are so awesome! You're swimming! Yes!" Then Hudson screaming back, "I do it! I svim so awesome!" At one point, the kid stationed next to Connor put his hands over his ears to drown out the annoying brother love. They looked like lunatics.
Last but not least in the daily swim lesson was free time. Free time lasts exactly 180 seconds. This was torture for Hudson on the first day because all the other kids could jump, dive and play with a myriad of pool toys while he could not do anything without his personal toddler carrier. Hanging out with the teacher wasn't nearly as much fun as going for dive sticks unassisted. So he came up with plan B after a few days of observing all the fun he couldn't have. As soon as the teacher started reaching for her watch, the signal that free time was approaching, he hoisted himself out of the pool (with no regard to personal nipple safety) and raced over to the toys and snatched up all the dive sticks. Now he was in the position of power. He towered over all the other kids on the side of the pool and taunted them by waving the sticks around while they begged for him to throw them in. Every once in a while he would toss one in and they would dogpile it while he laughed like a mad man. I think he has a bad case of the little man syndrome, with the way he swaggered around that pool in his size 18 month bathing suit, holding 9 sticks behind his back. Did he eventually toss them all in, yes. But only when he was good and ready and that was usually about the time that she had herded all the kids out of the pool because time was up. Yeah, I know.
So, bottom line. Can Hudson swim? No. Does he still think he can swim. Absolutely.