Last summer, K took a few lessons with the same instructor that B had, a former preschool helper who was also a swimmer/ lifeguard. B took lessons for 2 or 3 summers from her, spending most of the first few lessons screaming and negotiating, but eventually getting the hang of things. K was no different last summer with the screaming and negotiating.
When Nana and Papa moved to town last year, one of the first orders of business was to design and install a pool. Despite having had a few lessons, K had no interest in swimming, but would rather hang out in the shallow end, playing with toys. Earlier this year, K's cousin A learned to swim through what can probably be called a "crash course" in water safety. We checked into putting K into lessons, but the teacher did not have any availability at the time.
Over the last few months, we have had quite a few Sunday afternoons playing in Nana and Papa's pool, with everyone going down the slide and diving or jumping in from the top of the hot tub, except for K. (She did go down the slide with me once or twice, but that's about it.) And she seemed content to keep it that way. No amount of teasing could get her into deeper water.
When we checked with A's instructor about lessons, she was booked for a few months. That was a few months ago. Nana signed up for lessons for K and yesterday was lesson number 1. This instructor has an interesting style - no parents (or big sister) are allowed out by the pool, so that the child can focus and not want to cling. The instructor allows the child to scream for "Mommy!" as much as she/he wants to, as long as the child keeps working on whatever she has them working on. So I stayed away. But I had a spy.
Needless to say, K screamed yesterday during her first lesson. She screamed a lot. One of the favorite replies (which you can hear in the video) that she gave to the instructor's question was "NO! NEVER!" Towards the end of the lesson, the short clips of video that my spy was sending me showed a much calmer K, working on kicking her legs and moving her arms and even floating on her back. Some of the clips showed her playing with toys in the shallow water, with the instructor telling her that the hard work comes first and then the fun stuff. She seemed ready for lesson #2 today.
As the afternoon and evening wore on, K's story about swim lessons would change. At dinner last night, K told me that the instructor told her she had to learn to swim in case any kids threw her into the water. When I said that made sense, she told me that she did not swim with "other kids," just me. Between putting her to bed last night and dropping her off at school this morning, she tried several more times to convince me that she did not want to continue swim lessons. She tried "Mommy, I don't like swimming," to which I replied "you don't have to like it, you just need to learn to swim." I even followed that up with "once you learn how to be safe in the water, you won't need any more lessons." At one point, she came back to the "but I only swim with you, Mommy" argument.
It's hard to tell in the video clips, but I'm sure she did a fair amount of negotiating with the instructor. She certainly tried with me once she got home. We will see how today goes. Hopefully a little less screaming.