Friday, June 1, 2012
I signed Jude up for swimming lessons this summer at Maley Swim School. I had heard wonderful things about the instructors and the facility and had read up on the benefits of Water Babies classes, and thought, "Why not?" Plus, I needed something fun to do with Jude this summer. (Ok, ok, chasing around an almost-toddler and watching him play and squeal as he discovers new things is fun in itself, but the idea of bringing all that fun to the water would only elevate the cuteness factor that much more, right?) As it turns out, the swimming pool is not the bath tub, which is Jude's all-time favorite place at home, and well, Jude's no dummy, so he doesn't hesitate to let everyone know this. At the first lesson, he took to the water quite well with only a few minor freak outs. Most of those freak outs occurred when his instructor, Ms. Elizabeth, tried teaching him how to climb out of the pool. (Yes, little babies learn how to hold onto the side of the pool and pull themselves out--insane!)Jude thought that meant time to get out of the pool for good, so he squinted those eyes, balled up his fists, and let out a stealthy holler that almost immediately turned into smiling laughter as soon as he plopped back into the water. (So answer me this--at what age would one consider that sort of behavior manic depressive?) Jude's second lesson took a turn for the worse, though. I don't believe anyone got anything out of that lesson. In fact, I said silent prayers of thanks to God that the other little girl in the class did not show up because all Jude did was holler. Now that time, I did not go in the water with him. Jeffrey did. We figured out that Jude did not recognize Jeffrey without his glasses, so by the time Jeffrey went to put them on, Jude calmed down only a hair. In the meantime, I sat in the observation room (yes, an observation room--like on "Dance Moms"!) hearing these loud sobs with all these other parents crowding the window saying things like "Glad it's not me in there" and "Ooh, he's not happy" while I'm displaying remarkable restraint from bowing up and responding, "Well, no shit!" Anyway, to say the lesson didn't go too well would be the understatement of the week. Then again, I'm sure Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has had a bad day before. Normally, lessons happen on Mondays at 4:30; however, Maley's rescheduled this week's lesson to Friday (today) since they closed for Memorial Day. Neither Jeffrey nor I wanted to go into the water with Jude due to last week's fiasco, and the fact that a week and a half had passed since he last got in the pool. Unfortunately, it was my turn, though. As if disrobing to my bathing suit clad almost 12 month post-partum bod--which is pretty much back to pre-pregnancy shape, but still not pretty--in front of the observation windows isn't humbling enough, I also had the very likely chance of dealing with a Category 5 fit from my pint sized, albeit very strong, offspring therefore drawing these various and sundry parents to the windows overlooking the baby pool like moths to the flame. Sure enough, just as I had anticipated, Jude sounded off as soon as we touched the water. Ms. Elizabeth, pro that she is, continued with the singing of silly songs and splashing of water. (Oh, and there was another little kid there too who looked at Jude as if to say "Get it together. Geez!". Great.) Meanwhile, Jude commenced with his screams so loud that I swear I saw some paint on the wall bubble up and start to peel. I remained calm and tried my best to act like I was having the best time of my life in there hoping he would catch my spirit, but no such luck. Finally, I drew my little baby close and held him to my chest, kissed him on the cheek, and whispered in my most soothing "Mom voice", "Now, Jude. Michael Phelps may have had one bad day, and maybe even two, but he didn't have two bad days in a row. You can do this." Then he looked at me with those big tear-stained brown eyes, drew a big breath as if gearing up for one good ear drum splitting scream and broke into hysterical laughter. And that baby laughed the rest of the lesson. He laughed getting out of the pool, he laughed jumping back into my arms, he laughed going down the baby slide (twice), he laughed at the bubbles, he laughed while doing the monkey walk, and he laughed at getting out of the pool for good. He finally found his confidence in the water! I couldn't have been prouder than if he had won Olympic gold--which inevitably is in our future!