Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let's Go Swimming

We’ve been talking about swimming a lot lately, the Bean and I. A few months ago, he saw his cousin “swimming” in the bathtub and has recently began to do so himself. I’ve been trying to gently foster his interest in swimming because, frankly, 120 degree summer days are only a few months away and it would be great to be able to spend them at my friend’s pool. I taught him the song that goes, “swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool”. (I bet you won’t be able to get that tune out of your head for a while now.) And I bought him a swim vest, which is apparently what they make instead of arm floaties now. So one afternoon, I figured I’d surprise him by taking him to an indoor pool.

It was a rare Saturday spent with just the Bean and I alone all day. That afternoon, he slept way past the time he usually wakes up from his nap and I had to wake him up manually. As I tried to coax him awake, he looked at me with groggy eyes that said, “Dude, sleeping. Get out!” It’s a look that I’m sure I will see a lot more of in his teenage years, but was a bit startling to see from a 2 ½ year old. When I told him we were going to a swimming pool, he immediately perked up.

By the time I got him ready, we had an hour before the pool closed. I rushed us along as fast as one can rush a toddler. Once inside, shoes were taken off, earplugs put in, swim vest put on and snack was pulled from hand with an explanation that getting freeze-dried banana wet defeats the whole purpose.

We were in the water for exactly four seconds before the Bean said, “I don’t like this game.” The phrase, “I don’t like this game” has become his second-most common used phrase placing right behind, “I don’t want to.”

I tried to pull him along for a “boat ride”, thinking that would make him like this game more, but the complaining increased. We dragged our wet selves out of the pool. I started to dry him off and change his clothes when he said he wanted to give the pool “another chance.” As I’m quickly learning, dealing with a toddler is never an easy thing, so when he said he wanted to give the pool another try, what he really meant was that he wanted to spend the next 15 minutes changing his mind back and forth about going into the pool. I understand my boy well enough to know that if he gives swimming a chance, he’ll really like it, but it takes a while for the Bean to warm up to new things. With this in mind, I’m being incredibly patient while he vacillates, even though I’m still dripping wet and freezing.

The kid eventually decides that he does want to go back in the water. He lasts twice as long as his first attempt before the complaining starts again. I threw him up in the air once or twice, which extended our stay in the water for a little bit longer, but it soon becomes clear that he’s not happy. Swim time is over. We get out, dry off, change (his) clothes and head back home.

Time spent driving to/from the pool: 20 min.
Time spent at the pool: 25 minutes
Actual time spent in the water: 1.3 minutes

The next morning, the Bean wakes up and the first thing he says to me is, “I want to go to the swimming pool.”

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