...but it didn't work out. Our original lessons took place at an indoor pool and the chlorine smell was enough to render poor Ethan unable to breathe and we've been counting down the days, weeks, months until we could finally put him back into swim lessons without worrying about them provoking an asthma attack and weeks of rattled breathing. At this point, I was sure he forgot everything he had learned in those months before he was even a year old. We started lessons again, this time through the city, in an outdoor pool, located smack dab in the middle of Ethan's favorite waterpark. I tried to explain to him for the past few days that we were starting swimming lessons, but all he heard was "swimming" and he was all smiles waiting to spend the afternoon with me at the pool. Grandma had gotten him a new swimsuit with an alligator wearing sunglasses -- something he found completely hilarious and loved showing to all of the other kids signed up for lessons.
Once he realized the only people in the pool were us, a few other kids and a teacher -- and once the teacher started leading the kids in an aquatic version of The Wheels on the Bus -- he started to meltdown a little bit. As we tread into the age of two, Ethan has decided he has stranger anxiety and hates being in large groups of people he doesn't know -- until about fifteen minutes later, when he's decided he likes his "new friends." I call this "Ethan's Warm Up Period" and I try, for the sake of both of our sanity, to get places at least fifteen minutes early so he can adjust to his new surroundings without feeling ambushed. (I'm rarely successful. Where I used to be obnoxiously early to everything, parenting has rendered me barely able to even be just five minutes late. It's the thought that counts, or something.)
Luckily, being in the water and able to splash around with me -- we started back at square one in the mommy and me class so that I'm able to be in the water with him while he re-acclimates himself -- significantly reduced his warm-up period time. After about four minutes into practicing kicking to the wall while I held his little body up in the water, he had already made two new friends, given and received several high-fives and received a red truck toy from his new swim instructor.
Our new swim lessons also meet three times a week, at 5:30 p.m., just before making the mad dash home for dinnertime. This is going to be a new, strange challenge in managing our already chaotic afternoons. It was on my way home from lessons tonight, dripping wet and completely disheveled while Ethan sat comfortably in his seat in dry clothing, that I really wished I hadn't caught the crock pot on fire a few weeks ago. (No, not like that -- I had left it sitting on the stove for some reason and accidentally turned on the wrong burner. No, I don't know, either. My husband was all cool about playing it off to make me feel better, giving me his best "these things happen!" though I'm fairly confident no one singes their crock pot on top of their stove on a regular basis. Except me.) It's not like Ethan minded the last-minute stop at Moe's, as made evident by the fact he kept shouting "welcome to Moe's!" through mouthfuls of black beans, rice, guacamole and tomatoes. Anyway. As much as I look forward to relief from the sweltering 98-degree afternoon heat, no-more-rain dances and positive thoughts are welcomed in keeping these late afternoon storms at bay -- at least three times a week. My little dude is a swim student now!