Progress

Boy jumping in poolTuesday, March 31, 2015
Today I am grateful for progress. Teaching swimming to three-year-olds is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done. It’s sort of like Forrest Gump’s box-o-chocolates. . .you never know which one you’re gonna get. Or better yet, which one is gonna get “it”.

I have been working with some of these kids for a long time and some have shown absolutely no improvement. I must tell them hundreds of times to point their toes, keep their legs straight when they kick and breathe the air not the water because they are children not guppies. Most just give me that blank look you get from your husband when you want him to join you at your crochet class. I call it the “speaking a foreign language look.”

You might remember that awhile back I wrote about a little boy who was new to the class who did nothing but tip over in the water and go “glug” as he was sinking. He didn’t kick, didn’t move a muscle, didn’t cry, didn’t have any response to anything at all. I’m not given background on the children so I know it is always possible there are learning disorders or autism present, so I only push to a point.

“Come on, honey, kick your legs,” I said as I pulled his burbling face out of the water for the hundredth time. “You have to kick your legs and move your arms because that’s how you stay above water.” Nothing. Blank looks. No tears. No smile, even though I gave him my best stuff. Just sinking of Titanic proportions. He wouldn’t try to climb out of the pool, he wouldn’t jump in, he wouldn’t do a thing. He was a human buoy. . .only weighted to bob. “Are you on break? Is it break time?” I’d ask. “Maybe we should get you a cup of coffee.” Ha-ha. Apparently I’m not as funny as I think. All I got was the blank look.

Until today. Today he was a maniac. A swimming maniac! He kicked; he reached & pulled; he took breaths of air and blew bubbles; and he put his face all the way in. Who is this kid, I wondered? Towards the end of the class I had him crawl out with the other kids, stand with his toes on the edge and jump in. He wouldn’t do it the first time. . .not quite. . .so I held one hand, but he didn’t really need it. So I gave him another chance. He flew through the air like a Wallenda, sunk underwater, kicked to the surface, put the noodle under his arms as instructed and he was off in a tsunami of laughter and long-arm reaches. Giggling, splashing, kicking and having a blast!

What happened? I have no idea. Sometimes it all just clicks. . .and when it does, the feeling of progress is incredible. . .for both of us!

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One Response to Progress

  1. Marge Bowman says:

    I understand everything. I too had kids like that. All at once there was something to click in the head. Nice column about teaching youngsters to swim.

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