Don't tell anyone but I've been a neglectful mother up till now. I have elected not to put the kids on a swim team for the past 4 years. As a result, our kids are the only ones in the entire county who don't know how to swim. In the desert climate of Southern California where Olympic athletes are born and bred for all manner of water sports, this is an egregious offense.
So to avoid a visit from Child Services, I finally signed them up for the swim team. Also because I have absolutely nothing to do over the summer. Little did I know that my days would be consumed with packing swim gear, lubing kids up with sunscreen, feeding them a pre-swimming snack, feeding them a post-swimming snack, unpacking wet gear, and washing everything.
I know, I'm such a whiner.
Only my oldest managed to make it on the swim team. She is willing to try whatever the coaches tell her. Compared to my son, who screamed no! every time they told him to stick his face in the water. Or my younger daughter who only sits on the steps so that she can run away as soon as any adult approaches her. Or my baby boy who likes to hide in the corner and poop into his swim diaper.
Last week, we had a practice meet. Each kid had to swim all 4 strokes. In between each stroke the kids stood around shivering while the parents stood around thinking, those burgers and hotdogs on the grill smell so good.
Here she is getting ready to dive in. It wasn't much of a dive, more of a jump or belly flop, really.
Notice the pained look on her face as she struggles to finish her butterfly lap. She only had one day of instruction on the butterfly before the meet. We were on the waitlist for the first week (yes, an actual waitlist), and by the time there was space for us, everyone else had already practiced for over a week. Most kids her age have been on the swim team for 3 years.
She finished last in every race, except for the backstroke because there was another kid who got tired of crashing into the lane markers and quit swimming halfway. It took all the coaches and the entire crowd to get him to finish. Everyone cheered loudly for him when he finished (thank goodness we can get on with the other races). Poor mom, I would hate to be her.
My girl swam all her races with this expression on her face. While I laughed and chatted with another mom about how it was good that she was having such a hard time, because our kids have it too easy. They need an honest struggle every now and then, like fighting to avoid drowning. The other mom, who grew up in China during the Mao years, heartily agreed. During our next practice, we're planning to throw the younger kids in the pool so that they can face and overcome their fears.
And they say homeschooled kids are unprepared to face the challenges of life.