Thursday, April 17, 2008

Going, but not quite swimmingly

I just told G that I'm signing her up for swimming lessons. Her response? She turned pale, backed away from me, and gasped "No!" as if I'd announced my plans to have her boiled in oil. Oh yeah. Good times ahead.

This isn't our first foray into swimming: the spring she was five, P and I enrolled her in a local swim school, thinking that we would do the right thing and get her started early. She was happy enough to splash around with the instructor at her first lesson (he was a golden, Adonis-like college boy, and you should have seen the little girls in her group squabble over who got to hang onto his neck), but at the second lesson, he asked her to put her face in the water, she got some up her nose, and it was all downhill from there. By her fourth lesson, she had been moved to the baby pool in hopes of making her feel safer, but all she did was scream hysterically as two-year-olds leapt off the side and swam around her like dolphins. At that point, we decided that she was on the verge of developing a full-blown phobia, and perhaps we should take a little break and try again later.

Well, here we are, later, and she's nearly nine and a half and still can't swim. I've thought about putting her back in lessons off and on, but it's the Girl Scout stuff that finally clinched it. I already won't let her go to the Scout camp in the local mountains because one of the things they do is paddle canoes, and I don't want her out on the water. I had to go along and help supervise at the beach last weekend, again because of the swimming issue, and I just found out that the campground they're staying at next weekend has a man-made lake with a boat dock, which makes me nervous even though I don't think they're doing any water activities.

These events will only get more frequent when she moves into Juniors next year (she and the other big girls in her troop are already doing some Junior activities, even though they haven't officially flown up yet) and unless I want to a.) forbid her to go to all of them, b.) attend all of them myself, or c.) get a stress-related ulcer, she needs to figure this water thing out. So, swimming lessons it is. As I said a few days ago, G has gotten infinitely braver and more confident over the last couple of years, but she can still be reticent at times, and she doesn't have an athletic bone in her body, so this is going to be interesting.

(Dammit, P, why aren't you here to help me out? Sigh ...)

In other sports-related news, G's school is offering afternoon tennis classes that start in a couple of weeks and continue through the end of the year, and with her approval, I've already signed her up for those. She suggested that since she can't take fencing, perhaps she can pretend that the tennis racquet is a rapier, to which I said, "I don't know how good that will be for your backhand, but whatever makes it fun for you." Who knows, maybe she'll just take off at both activities and become an Olympic swimmer who plays at Wimbledon in her spare time. I'll settle for her learning how to tread water and occasionally whack the ball with the racquet, though.


Humincat said...
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Anonymous said...

Are the lessons group or one on one? Katy had a terrible time with the water and what helped was getting her a one on one teacher.

Your girl is so smart though. I am sure if you explain the reasons she needs to learn to swim, she will agree.