You would think that after going through a practice swim session in the bathtub with Ellie that I would have been mentally prepared for the real deal.  I was not even close.  I had been dreading the first class ever since I signed up.  And on the eve of the first class, I was thoroughly anxious and nervous.  Nervous was an understatement.  I couldn’t sleep.  I had weird dreams all night.  You know that wrestler, Randy Savage, from the Slim Jim commercials?  Well, in my dream he busted through the wall saying, “snap into a Slim Jim!  OOH YEAH!” and then he chased me through the house into the street, and through the neighborhood, and then back into my house.  It doesn’t take a therapist to figure that one out.  I woke up exhausted, irritable, and not looking forward to swim class.

Ellie woke up a little earlier than usual letting us get through our morning routine pretty quickly.  This was a good thing, but it left time for my mind to fester.  To really let that nervous feeling take me over.  You know that first day of school feeling you got when you were a little kid?  That’s how I felt.  My stomach felt like I was on a rollercoaster.  My palms were sweaty and I kept pacing the kitchen.  Even as a kid, you always kind of knew it wasn’t going to be as bad as what you envisioned.  Or at least that’s what you hoped.  That’s all I could do.  Hope.

I wanted to get there a little earlier since I had to check in at the front desk and I didn’t know what the locker room situation was.  Was I going to have to change Ellie in her swimsuit while some old, naked, wrinkly guy changed next to us putting his underwear on last?  (This happened to me once at the gym.  Who puts on their t-shirt and socks before their underwear?)  So I was eyeing the clock like a hawk.  I wanted to leave the house at 9:30am because class started at 10:00am.  My pre-house-leaving routine would begin at 9:20am.  I had it all planned out.  Tick tock tick tock…

It was time.  I took Ellie upstairs to change her diaper and gather her already packed bag.  And then I realized, I didn’t pack MY swimsuit.  Uh oh, that’d be really awkward.  I had purchased two sizes because I couldn’t decide what to get at the store.  Once I was home I thought I decided on the medium.  But at that moment, something made me try them on again.  Uh no, the medium seemed too big.  I felt like if I had to exit the water too quickly that my swimsuit might not follow me.  So I tried on the small again, but it seemed too small.  It kind of gave me a little muffin top.  This is not happening!  I was in between sizes.  I was a tweener.  The small was too small, and the medium was too big!  What I was going to do?  I went with the small because I figured it’d be better to have a swimsuit too small than to have a swimsuit fall off.  I threw it in the bag and looked at the clock.  It was 9:35am, I had to go!

When we pulled in the parking lot it was 9:58am.  Somehow I had lost fifteen minutes in my car. They just disappeared.  This place was only ten minutes away from my house.  What happened!?  I grabbed the bag, I grabbed Ellie, and in a frantic rush we jetted for the door.  I walked up to the front desk half out of breathe saying, we’re here for the baby swim class, where do we go? The guy replied, “the pool’s closed, chlorine is too high.”  WHAT!?  So is class cancelled, I asked?  “Let me check.”  Now while he was checking, part of me was praying that class was indeed cancelled.  Oh darn Ellie, maybe next week, I envisioned myself saying to her.  “Hey Bobby, is that baby swim class still on?” he asked while chewing gum loudly.  Please be cancelled, please be cancelled, please be cancelled.  “Nope, class is still on, locker rooms are that way, have fun.”  AHHH!

With class still on, and the time probably past 10:00am, needless to say I was feeling flustered.  We got into the locker room (which was a family locker room) and as soon as we went into a changing room, Ellie started crying.  I had to change myself and wrestle Ellie into her swimsuit while she was flipping out and crying.  She was acting how I was feeling.  All the while I kept thinking, we’re late, we’re late, we’re late.

Finally, we were all changed with our bags safely locked in the locker and we entered the pool area.  I was expecting to see a group of four or five moms and their babies bouncing in the water stopping to look up at me.  I was expecting to see the teachers look of shame as I enter the class which had to be at least ten minutes late by now.  But all we saw was an empty pool and a bored lifeguard.  What!?  Where’s the class?  Is there another pool?  Is this the right day?  What happened?

I asked the teacher where the class was and she said, “right here.”  Huh?  I still didn’t get it, where was everyone?  I told her I didn’t know where to go, I’d never been here before, I’ve never been to a public pool before, and that I was a little freaked out.  “Oh my,” she responded.  “Why don’t you have a seat, we still have awhile yet before class starts.”  What time is it? I asked.  “9:45am.”  Huh!?  I was somehow fifteen minutes early!?  What!?  Was there a time warp in my car?  I don’t get it!

While holding Ellie pacing back and forth in front of the pool like an idiot, I couldn’t help but think how completely awkward it was to meet someone for the first time with your shirt off.  Hi, my name is Matt, I have extremely pale skin and a muffin top, nice to meet you.

I continued pacing back and forth by the pool glaring at the clock, waiting for other people to show up.  But as time passed and no one was coming, I was getting worried.  Was I the only person who signed up?  Was I the only schlub who decided this was a good idea?  And then at 9:58am, one other mom came in with her daughter.  The class was just the two of us.  Ugh.  Seriously?  This was turning out to be much worse than what I had envisioned.

To make matters worse, this lady’s kid was a happy fish in the water.  Blowing bubbles, kicking, splashing, and giggling.  What did my kid do?  She cried.  She cried pretty much non-stop for thirty minutes.  The teacher would come by and say, “Hi Ellie, can you splash in the water?”   Ellie just grabbed on to me and whaled.  “Why are you doing this to me, waaaa!”  Then the teacher would sing songs, and Ellie would just hold on to me and cry.  “Why is this lady still talking?  It’s not helping, waaaa!”  I felt like I was torturing her and making her afraid of the water.  I felt like we were ruining the class for the other mom and her kid.  This sucks.  I wanted to cry too.  Good thing we were in the water.  This was the longest thirty minutes of my life.

We did survive the first class.  She did eventually smile in the locker room after class.  I didn’t, but at least she did.  I was so close to stopping at the front desk to cancel the rest of the classes, but I stopped myself.  We can’t give up after the first class Ellie.  I guess we need another practice round in the bath tub.  Maybe something will change before the next class and it’ll go a little better.  I can only hope.

To find out what happens in the second session, click here.


  1. this was painful to read….but also super funny….funny cuz it didnt happen to me! hehe better luck next time! =)

  2. you know, I think the pool probably looked like a huge expanse of water to her, and everything sounds echo-y in there. kind of like being in the middle of the ocean for us. Poor Matt. Poor Ellie…….but I think she may get used to it, like she did storytime.

  3. This same thing happened with the little girl I used to babysit for. She HATED it at first (screaming, flailing, etc.) and ended up LOVING it and not wanting to leave 🙂 I bet she’ll get there!

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