If you look at the picture below and take in the body language of my two little swimmers, you don’t even need to read the following story. Unless you want to.
This is a picture that tells a thousand tales.
For the second round of lessons, Summer of 2012, Annabelle was going to advance to the “Big Kid’s Class” (in her words). Both kids had loved their Pre-School class in July, and Annabelle was clearly ready to move up to the next level.
Batman had passed the Pre-School session too, but he didn’t meet the height requirement to go up to the next class, so he was enrolled in Pre-school once again.
He was not at all happy about this.
The kids sat with anticipation waiting for their names to be called to meet their respective teachers. Annabelle was thrilled when she got Grant as her instructor. The Level One class was held right next door to the Pre-School class, so she had gotten to see Grant in action during the last session, and she knew he was super fun.
She jumped up happily and followed her class to the side of the pool to get started with the first day of instruction.
My little Batman is a creature of habit, and he was not happy to hear that he had a different instructor this time around. He had loved Miss Hannah from the last class, and he looked dubiously at his new teacher, Tenaly.
When the kids got in the pool Batman relaxed a little, but it was apparent that this class was much different from the July session. There were all different kids in the Pre-School session this time, and the overall age was much younger. The kids in this group didn’t listen as well, and Tenaly was constantly being pulled off to one side to snatch someone climbing out when they shouldn’t be, or running along the side of the pool, or splashing the other kids.
Still, when Tenaly was able to give the kids one-on-one attention, Batman had fun. He remembered everything he had learned from the last session, and performed each maneuver as requested.
Tenaly reviewed most of what Batman already knew, but I don’t think he learned anything new this session.
He did get plenty of time to practice his dunking.
Batman spent a lot of time alone during this round of lessons.
I felt kind of bad for him.
His sister, on the other hand, was in her element. Grant was the perfect combination of coach and cheerleader, and she absolutely loved the challenges he threw at her. She was the youngest in her Level One class, and she worked hard to keep up with the other kids.
She did lots of things on her own that she had needed help with in her previous session. For example, she went down the slide with no one to catch her.
After Grant helped her get the hang of it, she did both tummy floats and back floats with no assistance.
She practiced swimming in the deep end with her life jacket, and found she could get around quite easily.
She was learning so much in this new class.
Meanwhile Batman languished in the Pre-school class, waiting patiently for his teacher to have time to help him.
Don’t get me wrong, Batman did have fun in swimming lessons. He looked forward to going every day. But he definitely wasn’t learning as much as his sister.
This became even more evident when the much-anticipated “Diving Board Day” arrived. On Diving Board Day the Pre-School and Level One classes were combined, and the instructors teamed up, with one helping the kids get to the end of the high dive and the other catching them in the water when they either jumped or were dropped down from the end of the board.
Annabelle ran to the diving board and got right in line. Batman walked slowly with me to the side of the pool near the diving board and sat down on the ground beside me. I told him he’d better get in line so he didn’t miss out on jumping. He told me he wasn’t jumping this time.
I reminded him that last time he had waited until the last minute and missed out on additional jumps. “Don’t you remember how sad you were when you didn’t get to jump again?” I asked. He didn’t care, he told me. He wasn’t jumping.
He apparently got tired of me nudging him toward the board, so he got up and moved to the side of the pool and sat.
Tenaly and another instructor came over and tried to talk him into trying just one jump. Batman flatly refused. He is a stubborn little thing.
In the meantime, his sister was having the time of her life. She walked confidently down the diving board and jumped into the water. After a couple of jumps she said she’d like to jump alone with a noodle.
She made sure that the instructors knew she did not want to be caught.
Annabelle jumped into the water three or four times with her noodle, swimming back to the side by herself each time. The instructor never caught her once.
Batman sat by the side of the pool through the entire lesson. Finally, just as the class was over he stood up and said “I think I’ll go jump.” He walked slowly to the back of the line.
Just as he got to the line Grant helped the next little girl up to the board and said “This will be out last jumper today.” Batman looked over at me uncertainly. I knew how much it had taken for him to get his courage up to jump, so I asked Tenaly if they could do just one more trip so Zach would get a turn. “Of course!” she said. She is a good girl.
Grant helped Batman up to the board and walked him to the end, where he dropped him into Tenaly’s waiting arms. Everyone watching cheered. Batman was so proud. All the way home he talked about his jump. Annabelle was excited too. She couldn’t wait to tell her dad that she had jumped off all by herself.
The next day was play-day, and the last day of class. Annabelle’s class all voted to go to the diving board. She grabbed her noodle and jumped again and again, running the length of the board and flying into the water.
I got a couple of cool pictures.
I thought she was totally amazing. Really.
Batman stayed with his class, floating around by himself on a little boogie board.
When class was over that day, the teachers handed out certificates. Annabelle had passed Level One, receiving her certified Red Cross card to prove it.
Batman’s teacher took me aside and said that she thought Batman would be ready to move up to Level One next year.
I just hope I can get him to go back.