Thursday, August 05, 2010

Big fish

As you may or may not remember, we had a battle of the wills with Mallory last spring with regards to swimming lessons. To make a long story short, we signed her up for them, she loved them the first week, and then she spent the next three weeks refusing to go in the water. Eventually we quit the lessons and got a refund for the remainder of the session. Score: Mallory 1, Mom and Dad 0.Liam's swimming lessons also ended when soccer began back in late May/early June. Since then we have done lots of casual swimming but no formal lessons. Mallory seems to love being in the pool... when it's on her own terms. One day recently, Chad came across an ad that a lifeguard posted on the bulletin board at work. She was offering private lessons in your own back yard. Chad thought it sounded like a good idea and I agreed that the worst that could happen was that Mallory would refuse to do it again and Liam would get the benefit of two weeks' worth of private lessons. Sure enough, when we told Mallory that the lifeguard was coming, she let us know in no uncertain terms that she was not interested. I told her that she didn't have to swim, but that she was expected to put on her swimsuit and sit outside with us, and that she wouldn't be allowed to go in the pool until after the lesson was over if she wasn't going to follow along with it.Lifeguard Erin came that first day and began the lesson by asking for some pool rules. Mallory, who at this point still insisted that she was not going to participate, started hollering out "No peeing or pooping in the pool!" from across the pavement while Liam took his shy-boy time warming up to her. Then Mallory came over and offered to show Erin some of her jumps. When Erin said no jumps but that she would love to see Mallory's back float, Mallory was in the water in a flash. She just couldn't hold out any longer.The kids have now had three 1/2 hour lessons with Erin. Liam has swum the entire length of the pool, deep end and all, unassisted; he's retrieved diving toys from the bottom of the deep end; and he is learning how to cannonball and swim on his back. Mallory has learned how to bob, swim with her face in the water, and do front and back floats. (She also went unintentionally under for a minute when in her excitement, she bounced herself right off the shallow-end steps while Erin was at the other end of the pool with Liam. Luckily we were all watching and scooped her out again.) Cindy took the kids to the Jaycee Pool yesterday and remarked on how different Mallory is in the water compared to the last time she saw her. Seeing that we have come all this way and we still have 7 lessons left... I would say it's money very well spent (and very little money at that; ten lessons for Mallory at the Y were $80, and 10 semiprivate lessons for Liam and Mallory together are $100). Given the tragic stories in the headlines these days about accidental drownings, it's nice to see the kids picking up such an important life skill. When it comes to the battle of the wills with Mallory, I would say the score is now tied.