Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mr. Baseball and the swimming Pool

So we've got a pool. Not a big one. But its a pool. Clear water. Chlorine. stamped concrete patio. With 90+ degree weather outside almost everyday, we're getting our rent's worth.

We go about once every other day and Mr. Baseball is slowly learning to swim. He took lessons last summer, but as he is with most new things (and as I am), he resists taking the time to learn if it doesn't come naturally. And swimming hasn't come naturally. We had been trying to teach him to hang on to the wall and kick, show him how to use a kick board or inner tube to hold himself up, hold him up ourselves by the waist so he could practice, but he has always been more interested in doing cannon balls into the shallow end and "walling" around the edge of the pool.

But since we've moved here and had such easy access to a pool he has put in a real effort to learn. Not that he's been excited about "practicing" per say, but he does spend much of his time in the pool gliding with one hand on his nose while he paws at the water and his feet flail behind him. He's actually given himself a bruise on the edge of his nose from squeezing it so tightly. It was cute, but his stubborn unwillingness to "practice" bugged me.

That brings us to today. I was catching him as he jumped into the "deep" end (5 ft.) and I asked him if he would try to swim to the wall. I expected him to put up a stink about my desire for him to "practice," but he said okay and he started thrashing towards the wall. He actually made it a few feet before he began to sink.

I expected him to be grumpy, but when I asked him if he was okay, he laughed and said, "Yeah."

He climbed back out of the pool and jumped in again for me to catch him. And again he willingly tried to swim back to the wall. He repeated this process a half-dozen times and each time he made it almost all the way to the wall without my help.

He was thrilled.

I was thrilled.

Then he got tired.

But not grumpy.

He actually laid down on the pool deck and let one hand hang in the water. "I'm tired," he said. But then he got back in and did it again.

So I was absolutely thrilled. Proud. Pleased. A little surprised. And now I'm feeling a little silly about the whole thing. Why so thrilled/proud/pleased at this and not at his earlier attempts at "learning" to swim? Sure his nose-bruising thrashing around in the shallow end lacked the structure and repetition of "REAL" practice, but it was practice nonetheless. Today, was it merely that he was willing to follow my suggestion? I hope not. It drives me crazy that as a parent, no matter how patient and open-minded I try to be, when it comes down to it, a part of me just wants him to Do. What. I. Say.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.

It was fun--really fun--to be out there today with him and the monkey (whose getting his own set of webbed feet with the help of a floaty suit) and the QB (who is feeling better everyday and stepping nicely into the cute-prego-mama role) and while it was nice for him to respond so willingly to my suggestion, and while I was mega-pleased that he kept at it even though his head went under water a couple of times and several times he glanced over at me, wondering if I was going to put a hand out to help him, it was mostly nice just to be out there as a family and to laugh and splash and get a little sunburned together.

Hmmm. It's the last day of summer vacation, if you don't count tomorrow (and we don't, really, because Sundays are pretty much the same year round for Mormons), and now that I'm thinking about it, today was a fine way to say good-bye to the season. Mr. Baseball starts school on Monday. I start on Thursday. We'll still hit the pool as long as the weather is warm, but after today life gets busier, and we have to stop pretending we're on an extended vacation.

The real world awaits. But for now, I'm content with my sunburn, and the image of my son, afloat an arms length away, riding that wave between failure and flying.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I must admit, I'm jealous. We searched the SL Valley high and low for an apt (in our price and geographic range) with a swimming pool, but there were none to be had. Our kids LOVED lessons and keep begging for more. Sounds like Mr. Baseball is really growing up! :)