Monday, July 18, 2011

The five kids you meet at swim class

My hours upon hours of time spent poolside the past few weeks have resulted in some observations, mostly thanks to all of the nothing else to do. Noah’s current class of three-year-olds is an adorable mix of precocious personalities, and I love chatting with the other parents as we laugh and cringe through another lesson. Our conversations are part of the inspiration for these thoughts on the typical swim class personality types.

The Overachiever – This one walks into the water on day one and instantly pops up into a perfect back float. His legs kick stick-straight, and the proud instructors frequently call attention to his latest accomplishments. “Look at this!”, they exclaim, chuckling at the adorable brilliance. Mom lounges on a deck chair nearby. If this were a cartoon, her eyes would be tiny gold medals.

Daredevil Kid– This child is under the mistaken impression that she can already swim, frequently giving the row of onlookers near heart-attacks by hurtling her 30-inch-tall body behind the lifeguard’s back into the deep waters with a confidence not nearly matched by skill. “Um…um…UM…GET HER!”, we yell collectively, alerting the nearest red-suited person to grab the curly-haired girl by her sinking waist and bring her to the surface, sputtering but disturbingly unfazed. I send mental notes to her dad. “No beach trips this year, sir. I implore you.”

Splashing Kid – He’s cute as a button. He is also a hurricane of flailing limbs from the moment his first toe touches the pool. And since my own child finds calm, smooth water to be delightful, but fast-moving water to be ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING, it is not so convenient when he’s being hit in the face every two seconds with a toddler-sized tidal wave. My mental notes to Splashing Kid’s dad go something like…”Hey man, how’s the magazine? Great! Um, I was wondering if you’d noticed that the instructors have asked your sweet little boy about 57 times to stop splashing and he seems to be having a teensy bit of trouble processing that request. Also, they keep giving you beseeching looks. Just thought you might want to know. Thanks!”

Crying Kid – Bless her heart. She is not a fan of the pool.

My Kid – Noah loves swim class…until we actually get there. “I’m so excited about swimming lessons, Mommy! I just love swimming lessons!”, I hear as we pile into the van. Upon arrival at the pool, the monologue quickly switches to, “I don’t want to go to swimming lessons. I’m really, really scared of swimming lessons.” He sits on the steps, quietly holding a water toy while The Overachiever shows off a promising dolphin kick, Daredevil Kid tries to flail past everyone, Splashing Kid‘s dad catches up on his correspondence, and Crying Kid…well, you know. Smiles when the instructor glides him through the calm waters away from the ruckus, looking pointedly away when he’s asked to get his nose wet or demonstrate Superman arms. Refuses to attempt anything remotely resembling a back float. Aaaaaaand sits on the step again until it’s time to go. “That was so much fun, Mommy! I just love swimming lessons!” His teacher raises her eyebrows in surprise. I shake my head and smile apologetically. As Noah approaches, I give him a thumbs-up, and he responds by holding up his index finger, thinking it’s the same thing. The cute factor is enough to make another hot half-hour worth it.

So off we go, Noah wrapped up in his shark towel and me wondering how Splashing Kid is managing to dampen everyone in the vicinity even while out of the pool…

Preschoolers are weird, wonderful creatures.


  1. Indeed they are! This is too, too cute. We haven't done swimming lessons yet, but I'm pretty sure these same kids frequent the playgrounds where we are regulars. Except splashing kid is usually Pushing Kid or something wonderfully aggressive like that.

    I DO love preschoolers though. They are awesome. As is this post. I giggled throughout.