Another instalment in the ‘Johnson boys don’t like to swim’ series.
I enrolled the Hen in swimming lessons for this week (and last). I thought maybe if he started lessons at an early age, we could prevent some of the pitfalls that are keeping the Gort from fulfilling his championship-swimmer-destiny. Like (inability slash) deathly fear of floating on his back.
And despite a few hesitant moments when he discovered his teacher would be the unenthusiastic Mr. Ray instead of the perkily adorable female instructor, swimming lessons have been a hit. Or so I’ve assumed from my spot in the stands with my head turned to the side, talking to other moms.
On Tuesday, when I collected my swimmer-in-training, Mr. Ray paddled towards me from his spot in the middle of the baby pool. ‘He’s really close to passing, but he needs to put his face in the water,’ he informed me. It took me a few seconds to decipher the words. Was he actually suggesting he would fail – a three year old – from Preschool 1 swimming? ‘So if you could practice with him for the next few days…..’ Mr. Ray interrupted my thoughts.
I nodded obediently. Adding up, in my head, the dollars I will have spent on failed swimming lessons in 2011.
When Percy retired for his afternoon nap, I pulled out a shallow tupperware bowl and filled it with water. ‘Okay, we’re going to practice putting our faces in the water,’ I rallied my troop. I summoned the Gort, who has successfully conquered the fear of dunking his face, for added reinforcement. Perhaps if the Hen saw examples from two different people, he would be more inclined to participate?
The three of us crouched down on the linoleum by the front door. I spread out a towel and placed the bowl upon it. With my hair pulled back, I lowered my head towards the water. And then I had a nanosecond-long panic attack.
When was the last time I’d immersed my face in water? Would I even be able to do it correctly? Was I about to fill my nasal cavities with water and would I then have to pass it off as no-big-deal so as not to freak out the reluctant (non) dipper? But I was past the point of no return, so I potentially-drowned myself and hoped for the best.
Luckily I avoided the dreaded nose burn. But with my head in the water, I couldn’t help but think: this parenting gig is nothing like I thought it would be.
One minute I’m carrying a melted projector out of the house. The next I’m escorting a melting (down) child out of a mall…and looking up ‘my child swallowed a coin’ on the internet. And now I’m putting my face in a bowl of water. For ‘fun’.
What a week.