We went to swim class today and Cooper did NOT throw up.
Not to say that he has gotten sick at every swim class (he hasn't) but it's been quite a journey to get to a happy(ish) place in the pool.
We started lessons back in June. I elected to try private lessons given how AWESOME Cooper is at trying new things and mingling with new people…NOT! Anyway, we show up on the first day and he was pretty cooperative in the pool with someone he didn't really know, until she made the mistake of asking him to put his face in the water that is! Silly, silly swim teacher, this is what happens when you ASK a three year old to do anything! Cooper started to whine and very directly told her "NO THANK YOU!" After this, she promptly pulled the plug on the lesson telling me she wanted him to be a little more comfortable with her and in the water before lessons.
We opted to come back in two weeks after more pool time. At this lesson, it only took him two minutes to tell her "NO!" and earn his "done for the day" card. Yeah, he figured her out pretty quickly. She told me, "I really want him more comfortable here and with me. He should be running up to me excited to start the lesson with a hug and be willing to go underwater." I took everything I had not to laugh in her face. He's got your number, lady.
Private lessons with pushover instructors, as it turns out, are not for us!
Next stop…group lessons at the YMCA in July and part of August. I felt like he was getting behind and the Y offered two week crash courses where you went for four days in a row. We did three sessions and actually had some luck here. There were kids in his class that were actually terrified of the water so ornery little Cooper came out looking like a shining star! He blew his bubbles as instructed and was willing to swim (assisted) as long as his eyes didn't get wet. Top of the head? FINE! Nose, ears and mouth? OK! But don't you dare get his eyes in the water! No, he will not wear goggles. That would just be too convenient!
His instructor at the Y was a huge college football linebacker that looked like he could have eaten Cooper for lunch. No matter his size, Cooper had that 300 pound teddy bear like putty in his hands by the end of the first lesson. Cooper was the only one not crying. This guy was not going to risk that by making Cooper put his face in the water and you better believe Cooper knew it!
So we finally settled on a once a week swim class with two of Cooper's besties. This is where we should have been all along! They are a lot tougher on the kids and Cooper started making strides from the beginning. Plus, all the parents sit behind a glass wall to watch so I only had to see the crying boy, not hear him too. As much as he would cry and have anxiety before class, he was pretty ok with things after the lesson and my chocolate donut bribe. He was FINALLY progressing.
Until last week.
The day started with the normal pleas from the boy about not going to swim class. I countered with my typical bribes, condolences and encouragement which got us to class virtually tear free. Once inside, he started his wind up and his usual routine of crying and "I want my Mommy" which makes my stomach turn, even from behind the glass. That day they were working on floating on their backs which is really hard to do when you are yelling at the top of your lungs!
The next thing I know, I'm watching his head dipping down into the water. Through the flailing limbs I could see that he was actually coughing up a little water. Uh oh. "Oh man, please let that be water and not…" As soon as I could think it they were putting him on the outside of the pool where he promptly tossed his cookies. Ugh.
I hand Sister over to a friend and she immediately starts crying from the commotion. Awesome day to forget her binky!
I ran into the pool and scooped him up. One of the lifeguards helped me over to the shower to get him cleaned up. Wouldn't you know that in the comedy of errors that was my crying baby and my barfy kid the lifeguard pulled the chain and started the shower ON ME as soon as I bent over to set Cooper down.
At that point, soaked from head to toe with two crying kids, I considered letting Cooper learn how to swim once he got to college. But, as life would have it, we did go back and he showed up today with no tears and did perfectly fine. I did notice that his instructor didn't really make him go underwater today. Like, at all.
Don't mess with Cooper, he's willing to puke to get out of what he doesn't want to do! I wonder, has he outsmarted this instructor as well or are we finally turning a corner? Stay tuned!