After the first class, it was no surprise that I was in no way shape or form looking forward to going back.  I had put it so far in the back of my mind that I almost forgot about.  But right before I went to bed I got that last minute panic.  When you jolt up with a gasp.  Like remembering you have a test the next day that you had completely forgotten about.  Swim class! I forgot I have swim class tomorrow!  After the panic started to set in, I went to bed.  Not the best idea.  I don’t remember my dreams, but when I woke up the bed looked like I had wrestled a chupacabra in my sleep.  And then the whining started.  Not Ellie, me.  Who was I whining to?  Nobody, but I didn’t care.  I don’t want to go to swim class. Maybe the pool will be closed today.  Ugh.  But I had no excuse to cancel class.  I had to go.  The fact that I paid for them was my main motivation.

Since I was super early for the first class, I wanted to make sure I was more on-time for the second one.  And if we were a little late, it wouldn’t be a big deal because it would just give the one other mom and her kid a chance to enjoy the class without hearing Ellie crying.

When we entered the pool area, there were two new moms and their kids.  It seemed like the first mom had bailed.  I wonder if it was because of us.  Were we the dude and the baby that ruined swim class?  But now we get to test two new moms.  Would they last and come back for more?  As we started to walk into the pool, I saw the look on the teachers face.  “Not this kid again.”  It was probably all in my mind, but either way, I saw it.

There we were.  The three of us parents, our kids, and the teacher.  One mom was holding her baby girl, maybe four or five months old, who was splashing away and smiling.  The other mom’s kid was maybe three years old and was fine in the water too.  She could walk and talk and actually do things on her own.  Then there was Ellie, clinging onto me for dear life whaling.  “You brought me here again!  Waaa!”  I just kept thinking, I want to go home so bad right now.  What was I thinking when I signed up for this class?

I really give the teacher credit for trying to find something that would please Ellie.  After trying a few things in the waist high water, we moved to the shallow end.  Ellie cried louder over here.  I forced her to stand in water that was barely above her ankles and she cried louder and held onto me tighter.  So we wouldn’t disrupt the class too much, we moved off to the side a little bit.  It was kind of surreal.  There was some random 80s pop song playing on the radio too loud, senior water aerobics on one end of the pool, baby swim on the other, and then me and Ellie.  Me screaming on the inside and her on the outside.  I was convinced.  This was torturing her.

After an unsuccessful attempt to make Ellie stop crying, it was time to move to the warm pool.  It’s like a mild Jacuzzi tub.  As I entered the pool, my trunks billowed out when they hit the water trapping a lot of air in them.  So when I went into the water, all the air bubbled up around me.  Good thing this pool already had it’s own bubbles going.  These bubbles could mask a lot of things, you know.

The warm water didn’t help, but Ellie finally cracked a smile when we started singing the “wheels on the bus” song.  She didn’t do any of the splashes and wouldn’t let me move to the music with her, but she wasn’t crying.  I saw that as an improvement.  When we got to the part of the song that says, “All the moms on the bus say, shh shh shh.”  After the teacher said it, she looked at me like, “oops.”  To be honest, it didn’t sit well with me.  I know I was being overly sensitive due to my current situation in the pool, but I remember thinking, Dads ride the bus too you know.  This sucks.  I hate swim class.

At the end of the class, the teacher emphasized that we should practice with them during bath time.  As she said it, I felt like she was looking in my direction.  “You dad, with the non-stop crier, practice with her, pleeease.”  I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

I’m trying to see what we are learning here.  She’s not learning about the water or how to be in it.  I’m not learning anything either.  Except maybe that I now know I can survive in a most uncomfortable, completely awkward situation for thirty minutes.

But, I’m trying to be positive here.  Her little smile during the song gave me hope that maybe this wasn’t a lost cause quite yet.  Okay, okay, I’ll stick with it.  We’ll see what happens in the third class.

To find out what happens in the third and fourth sessions, click here.


  1. If it makes you feel any better, there were 3 kids in Brendan’s class that cried the entire class for the first few classes then ended up loving the water. Hang in there!

  2. Hey, not to be on the other side of this but… my parents quit my swim class when i was 2 (was terrified of water) and I love to swim now even when I hit 3 or 4, loved it.

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