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March 22, 2011

A month or so ago I signed Alistair up for swimming lessons.

At the end of last summer he was pretty good at the doggy paddle, especially with the armband-floatie things.  But he’s getting very tall now, and with the addition of Larson to have to monitor in the pool, the time has come.

He was stoked about the idea, right up until the day before his first lesson last Tuesday.  Then it was “I don’t think I wanna go”, and “I already know how to swim”, and so forth.

But I took the hard line, and talked it up, and we went last week.  And he got a little shaky when we walked into the boys club, and increasingly so as he got changed and we went to the pool area.  By the time the class began, and he walked over to the edge of the pool with the other kids, he was in tears.  By the time the other kids got into the water, and the instructor told him he could sit on the side and watch, he was red-faced and screaming.

I toughed it out for 20 minutes, then finally gave in and took him out.  I dried him off and made him watch the rest of the class.  He calmed right down, and by the time we got home he told my mother “I’ll be better next week”.

We’ve been talking it up from last Tuesday til this morning.  If he does good in swimming lessons, he can have this and that and the other, and so on and so forth (the new version of Angry Birds featured heavily).  And all morning he wavered between “I can’t wait to go to swimming lessons” and “I don’t really wanna go”.

The lesson is at 1, so at 12:20 I told him it was time to get ready to go.  Cue the tears.

“I’m scared of that place” and “I don’t like that place” and “I already know how to swim” and “I don’t know those kids” and “I don’t like the teachers” … lather rinse repeat.

My father offered to take him, or to come with us, but it didn’t matter.

I told him he can’t play videogames all afternoon, and he can’t use the computer or watch a movie, but it didn’t matter.

I told him he isn’t getting any of the rewards we talked about (I really thought this one would work, because he’s been wanting the new Angry Birds for weeks),  but it didn’t matter.

He talked to Larry on the phone, and Larry really tried to talk him into it, but it didn’t matter.

It’s 12:57 now, and we’re still at home.

Turns out I don’t have it in me to drag a sobbing child around town.

Which makes me feel terrible.  Not only for giving in today, but also for not having taken him to Mommy & Me swimming when he was a baby.

Larry told me (via text) to not worry about it, we’ll figure something out, it’s not like we’re swimming the English Channel.

Which made me chuckle, but didn’t stop me from having a good cry over it, because at the end of the day, it’s all my fault.

So, to recap, first I can’t teach my kid how to peddle a bike, and I seem to have missed my opportunity to teach him how to swim.

Could I be any more of a failure?

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