Chirp!:

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    My Computer Died

    and cost me a lot of money to get back with all those photos I hadn't backed up.

    And the maternity pics that were *imperative* because .. dude .. she gave birth .. there's no re-sit. And yes, the external hard drive I meant to buy and, blah blah blah.

    But now everything's all over the shop and I have to reload my programmes and it's all a bit of a PITA ( pain in the arse, for those not in the know ). Ugh.

    And they changed flickr while I was gone ? And it now sucks ?

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    In other news: Swimming Lessons.

    We went to our first one today since the lad was a babe ( and I had to get in with him - UGH - hello .. this meant realising on the trip over that between feeding and mothering and wifing and whatnot, that I had forgotten to check the bikini line, or shave my armpits, and yes, well, UGH - too much maintenence and remembering for a new mummy, and yes, also TMI for you - sorry about that .. )

    Soooooooooooooooooo ... I saw a swisho ad in the local paper and called up. The woman was firm and no-nonsense: 'we don't do games here'... um, ok. I mean: I don't know. We did games when he was a babe, but hey, he was a BABE, and hardly going for his Bronze Medallion. She sounded firm, but fair. Give it a go.

    Oh, and some background: my son is a drama queen. He grabs his throat and fakes stangulation .. he's also quite sensitive, and is perhaps mollycoddled at home. Perhaps he lacks discipline ? I'm unsure.

    More background: i'm a prety weak swimmer, and still recall all my swimming pool hangups:
    - I was fat, and teased by others
    - My dad was aggressive, and firm. He would hold your head underwater until you would felt you might drown, and you would come up distressed, and gasping.
    - I was made to take swimming lessons LONG after every other kid my age could swim competently. Because it wasn't my forté, I was made to go back and back again. I lived in shame of someone seeing me, with my sister, 6yrs my junior.
    - I'm not much into cold, nor wet.

    So to this day, i'm still not cool in the pool. I don't like getting my hair wet. Swimming bores me. I'm much rather tan on the side, with a cheap novel. I hate getting wrinkly fingers.
    I can't get 'breathing' right, so prefer breastroke, which is mainly al fresco.

    But I also recognise my failing, and how life would have been easier if I could swim better, and have confidence and fun in the water. Not to mention, it's important to know how to save yourself. etc etc. My son will thank me one day ?!? Ok, disregard the question marks, he WILL thank me one day. This is important, on so many levels.

    So AB came home from work early, and the whole family went. It was a drama, but I did get him in the pool with the lovely instructor, after a chat. I think he's a bit like me, needing to feel his way, to take his time. He was just getting used to the water ( he hasn't been in many pools ), when the owner came in and started laying down the law. He WILL use the kickboard, and he WILL blow bubbles, and she didn't take any of his "I need to wee!", or his dramatic choking displays either. Eventually, we ( the parents ) were asked to leave the pool, and had to wait outside the establishment. I could hear my son's dramatic screams ( oh yes, he can pull on a show ) and also ( more of a concern as it took me back to my own hatred of lessons ), the owners' no-bullshit approach.

    I felt like I had deserted him to be drowned by strangers.
    But at the same time, I think he might need a stranger to be firm and not buy into his little games and tricks ?

    I'm glad AB was there, as he's a better swimmer than me, and yet not a hard person - he's often the "softie". We both felt pershaps this was needed.

    I'd appreciate some swimming lesson feedback - especially if you took a water-shy dramatic 4yr old to swimming lessons with a task-master Olympic Coach wanna-be for the first time, or if YOU were the 4yr old in question.

    Were you scarred for life?
    Is your 4yr old now working at WaterWorld ?
    Am I doing the right thing ?

    The task-master, BTW, seems results-driven. She doesn't seem a bad person, and we're willing to go back. Apparently it will take 3 lessons of bloodchilling screams before he looks like all the other kids we saw coming and going ( happy normal, willing to swim children ). She says we are not unusual at all, which is good, because my boy has monster-strength lungs.

    As AB said though .. he learned to shut his trap by the end of the lesson ( they count to 3 before dunking you - if you're screaming, you cop a gobful ).

    I feel like we're breaking in horse... am I breaking his spirit and trust ... or molding a boy ?

    25 comments:

    kim at allconsuming said...

    Hmmm, I started Jasper at lessons at the beginning of this year.

    I have to get in.
    We play games.

    He now floats on his back with me barely holding him. He likes me to push him to the bottom so he can kick of and shoot out of the water like a rocket. He adores going under and seeing how long he can last.

    It was instantaneous. The holding his breath started in second term.

    But that is Jasper - a water baby.
    Felix screamed for about a year I do recall. And now adores the water.

    So look - it is quite personality driven but I am very glad you're aware of your own experiences and not projecting them onto him.

    Being a competent swimmer is a bit of a necessity in Australia as we all know - you'll be glad you did this when it comes to school swimming carnivals and he can do it.

    It sounds to me like this is the perfect activity for father and son while Mum and Bub stay home. Seriously.

    Is that all sounding to self-righteous and bolshy? It's not meant to - I'm just surrounded by IKEA boxes and half packed bookshelves. It's making me probably far shorter in my comments than I otherwise would be.

    kim at allconsuming said...

    whoops - fourth para was meant to say it wasn't instantaneous. He's hated floating or putting his head back up until this week.

    dancingmorgan mouse said...

    Nothing useful from me, I didn't actually manage to swim until I was 13, lessons up the wahzoo, but nothing until I was 13 and actually wanted to know. I used to hide from the teacher.

    KikiMiss said...

    You're very right, he will thank you and you will again, thank yourself. You're doing the right thing. I don't want to tell you how many children I know (personally know - not, friend of a friend bullshit) who have drowned in the past 6 years!!! Serious and hideously sad stuff. If only they were able to swim and not panic.

    It will feel like breaking in a horse, I've done that too being a horse girl from way back. Just tell yourself and AB he is a drama queen and he's going for gold!! Not the swim teacher LOL, and anyway...they're just doing their job.

    Keep a tight lip - I do agree that perhaps you're not in the 'arena' at lesson time if possible. I also like one-on-one lessons, no other crap from other kids and their pushy parents.

    That's me...amen xx

    Melody said...

    Oh gees. Monet has never had swimming lessons - I awlays thought she would but hasn't. I'm too much of a lazy parent to 'do all that' and the thought of me getting in the pool with all those other parents does not turn me on at all. I prefer a bit of privacy if you know what I mean. But we are in the pool most days from September to March and she's actually really good now - getting a bit of confidence in taking off the 'Wahu' vest thing.

    My dad used to be a VicSwim teacher (many, many years ago). I too cannot swim - I like to have a splash and do the breast stroke thing for the same reasonings as you. I remember at Primary school when we went for swimming lessons I would put on an act and pretend I was sick so I didn't have to do diving and stuff. Oh the horror.

    Fairlie said...

    Where to start? I taught swimming for many years from babies through to adults. You're right - learning to swim is a non-negotiable life skill. Kids just have to do it. But I don't subscribe to the kick-and-scream-until-you-learn school of thinking. In my experience kids learn more quickly when they are happy and comfortable. However, having said that - it's a fine line...I have taught a lot of kids who have put on a grand performance for the first lesson or two and once they realised that it wasn't going to get them anywhere (e.g out of the pool) have given up and settled in to learn. So your task-master is probably right.

    I started both my girls with lessons at six months and have just never stopped (Queenie has just officially 'graduated' from the swim school program).

    Hoppo Bumpo said...

    Uurrgh - I hate swimming. I learnt way too late and had already developed a mortal fear of water. I hate putting my face in the water and have developed a bizarre breast-stroke type style (swimming only in the shallow end of course).

    We've started our two (2 & 3.5yrs) early, so that they don't end up like me. I know that they do lots of fun things (games) during their lessons. We'll that's what I hear anyway (because of course I don't go ... I am too afraid of drowning during a toddler swimming lesson).

    My understanding is that many kiddies don't really have the capacity to learn to swim properly until about 4-ish. Most of what is done before 4 or 5 is for confidence and familiarisation. Maybe that's why the games cut out after that time and then it gets a bit more structured. As long as the instructor is just firm and not beligerent, I guess everything will turn out fine after a few weeks.

    I know one of my nephews (5) spent the first 3 or 4 lessons screaming in the same manner, but is perfectly happy now.

    PS. I don't like the new look Flickr either. I'm a creature of habit.

    h+b said...

    wow - so much good advice - you girls know your stuff !!

    Yeah - the games - he'd probably fake strangulation in them too. We'll keep with the taskmaster I think - and no - i'm not going in future - just wanted to check out the place. It's going to be a Daddy/Son thing.

    Can't wait until that magic 4th lesson though...

    Christie said...

    What is it, the pool of hard knocks, he, he, he...

    Swimming is such an important one, and as you said yourself (I am paraphrasing) you don't want him growing up with water issues or not being able to swim- we live on a bloody island!!!

    I have no words of wisdom. Ryder is a real water baby & has been doing lessons since he was a babe. He has gone from having those sing-a-long lessons with his dad to (in this past year) serious lessons (sans parent) with a couple of other kids & an instructor. Lucky for us it has been an easy transition. Wuillow will be a different story, she ain't no water baby & she is VERY strong willed!!!

    I would give him a few weeks, I don't think that there is anything wrong with a teacher who is firm, in fact I think it is good for them.

    sue said...

    Oh I can totally relate to your story. I didnt learn to swim until Gr 5. The instructor was horrible and I hated it, never wanted to go back. I can swim a bit, not very good and dont like putting my face in either. I took my daughter to swimming lessons when she turned 3, to an establishment that sounds similar to yours where the parents are made to go outside. It took her 3 weeks to get used to not crying or screaming for me and after that she was great in the water. I was so thankful to those people for doing that as it made my daughter realise that you do have to listen to other people in charge besides your parents, and she is now a much better swimmer and has no fear unlike me. I am sure in time your son will love it too.

    M said...

    Bummer about the computer. I have to completely reinstall Vista which apparently means I lose everything. Is giving me the heebie jeebies thinking about it.

    I'm with Fairlie on the swimming thing. Essential but shouldn't be a negative experience. I say keep trying schools until you find the one that understands your son and meets your needs. We tried three swim schools in Sydney before finding the right one. The right one will probably not be in a convenient location BTW.

    Stacey said...

    Sucks about the computer. Having been through a similar situation I am now a compulsive backer upperer.
    Re the swimming lesson business. I agree it really is a life skill (and a social one - who wants to be the kid that can't swim at the pool party?). I also agree that kids learn better when they are having fun. I chopped and changed swimming centres a few times until I found instructors I was happy with. Some of them are students just wanting to earn a few extra bucks and don't really give a toss about whether the kids are doing it right.
    Still, the most progress the boys have made with their swimming was when mucking around with their Dad. Granted we do have a pool, so access is always on hand, and the husband is an excellent swimmer, but my point is its gotta be fun.
    Otherwise the kiddo might end up with the whole negative association thing. Having said that if he's a bit of a drama queen, he might just need to be told to get over it and stop pissing around.
    I hated the getting in with them thing - I don't do forced jocularity. Best day of my life when I could stay dry on the pool side with the newspaper and a coffee.

    shula said...

    Mine got stressed out of her brain and ended up at the hospital with viral meningitis....

    After which I never made her do it again, and she happily learned to swim in time. She's no olympic swimmer, but she'd survive in a pinch.

    You did ask.

    Stomper Girl said...

    I'm not a fan of getting wet in the cold months either so I deliberately waited until both my kids turned 4 before putting them into swim classes, the age the local pool says they don't need parents in with them. They both love their swimming lessons, and Cherub has quite the crush on his lovely softly-spoken-but-firm teacher, lots of smiles and games and splashy fun. We do them through a YMCA program and I would thoroughly recommend it.

    How has Flickr changed, I haven't noticed?

    peppermintpatcher said...

    BIG NO from me. Swimming pool lady is not the boss of you. She does not tell you where to go and when to go there. There's a fine line between firm and mean and she sounds mean. I don't care for mean people.

    Bugger about the computer, but worth every cent to retrieve those photos.

    Louise said...

    I didn't take mine as babies but our pool takes them in without a parent at age 3. They both were wary and there were a few tears now and then. I think sometimes they would worry before they got there and other times not. I have over the years seen child after child freaking out screaming, clutching parent's legs and carrying on only to see them a couple of weeks later beaming and loving it!! It's really normal!

    SadieandLance said...

    Shit thanks for the reminder to actually finally go buy that external hard drive.

    I'm singing with Farlie here. I have been a swimming teacher and my sister runs a swim school. Firm but fair is a good approach, he may need the pushing before he settles in. Definitely hide yourself away until he calms down - most of the performance is often for the benefit of Mum and Dad. He'll probably calm down eventually, but if he doesn't don't be afraid to go find another swim school. You don't want him to be freaked out by swimming forever more.

    And try and do some fun swimming outside of class time...maybe hubby can go instead of you?!

    And games aren't really necessary for kids to learn to swim in a class, but a good teacher should be able to make learning to swim fun. Shit this aint school we're talking about. The kids should be happy and smiling at least some of the time while they're doing their swimming thing.

    Violet & Rose said...

    You SO just summed up my relationship with the swimming pool, right down to the neglected bikini line. I was taken to lessons with a teacher who had a hideous clawed and very large engagement ring. I remember this so vividly because I can still see that hand coming into the pool to prise my hands away from the side and push me away to swim.

    Anyhoo, my girls are fantastic swimmers and they love it. Praise the lord they are not following in their mothers footsteps, I say. They too have had the task master of a teacher. Miss A, at 3 years of age, took to blood curdling screams for three weeks in the pool. Each time I voluntarily went and stood outside and sobbed every time I heard her wail. But it worked. She should be right for London 2012. I'm up for the challenge of being a POOS.
    So, hang in there, and keep on enjoying those ice creams on the way home. XX

    crafty said...

    Oh yeah, I am SO scarred.
    Breast stroke is my preferred choice too.
    I was actually pulled out of the freestyle race in my swimming carnival in grade four, poor little thrashing thing in the water I was trying to get that breathing thing happening... scarred.
    Anyway, so I'm all guilty 'cause I had too many babies and my eldest has kind of missed out so far, but middle is five and started this year (thanks to Stomper organising me, God I'm pathetic) and she just loves it, and I don't think she has suffered for starting a little late.

    jorth said...

    I too was a really really bad swimmer, and ended up having lessons until year 9! At the time I loathed them, but now I am so thankful that I can dive into a pool and swim with confidence. I'm still not a strong swimmer (um, hello, no muscles!), but I have great water safety knowledge, and that's worth a lot.

    I think you're doing the right thing, and I've learnt with Grumbles that sometimes the parents need to stand aside and let the expert do their thang ;-P

    Muzbot said...

    My dad was a swimming instructor and I guess I was lucky to have that in my life. I used to enjoy just going and watching him train people. He even set up classes for pensioners who had never learnt to swim. The one thing that always sticks with me is how patient he was with the learners. He was always in the pool with them and literally supported them as he instructed them. He would hold them up and he seemed to understand each individual's fear and weakness. He wasn't payed, he volunteered mostly. The learners all ended up loving him, the water, and learning to swim. The instructor makes a difference.

    You know, when I started this comment I didn't think I could comment on kids learning to swim...

    muser said...

    I, too, am a crap swimmer. It's a necessary skill where we live - three dams on our property. My older boy has been going to lessons since August last year. Alot depends on the swimming school. I took him to a private mob who kept switching teachers on him so he couldn't build his trust up. USeless waste of money. This is the second term he's had private lessons at the council pool and he's coming along.. dare I say.. swimmingly? I suppose I left it alot later than I should have. He's 4.5 now. But I didn't want to have to get in the pool with him.

    nutmeg said...

    All I can go by is what I have seen at my girls' swimming lessons and that is there is always kids that really hate it at first but after 2, 3 or 4 weeks they are fine. But what I haven't seen is the teacher being as firm and inflexible as you mention in your post. Firm and friendly also works in the end. If you find the "atmosphere" of the lessons doesn't improve with time maybe look for an alternative. And from personal experience I had a firm and inflexible (and rather nasty) swimming teacher when I was young and I still remember it to this day ;-) But, I still like swimming :-)

    the projectivist said...

    i'm sure it's much worse for you, than for your son! you just have to ride out the guilt for a bit, till it gets to be fun for him - which i'm certain it will. eventually.

    and just think of all the good you're doing him.
    swimming lessons at school will be a breeze for after this!

    caramaena said...

    I'm curious to know how he's going now?

    Chickie didn't like the swimming lessons we took him too much at all. We eventually gave up (of course he was still having ear infection problems randomly then too - even with the ok from his E.N.T.).

    That was a year or so back, then this year his class (well the whole junior primary school) had swimming lessons. He decided he loved it and always wants to go back to the pool or head to the beach. Perhaps peer pressure helped in Chickie's case - he's a bit of a drama queen too.

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