Thursday, May 13, 2010


A few weeks ago, I told J that he would be taking swim lessons again this summer.  I asked him what level he wanted to take - 2 or 3.  He said he wanted to take Level 3.  I explained that since he didn't pass the Level 2 test, he would have to repeat the level again, unless he takes private lessons.  I also told him that it was his decision.  Again, he said that he wants to take Level 3 and he also wants to take lessons to get there.

Fast forward to this afternoon, J's first private swim lesson.  He couldn't wait to get in the pool, so I figured we were off to a good start.  Then the (male) teacher had him and I (our neighbor's son, with whom we're sharing a semi-private lesson) crabwalk the wall - circle the pool holding on to the ledge.  I was fine, since he has taken lessons with this teacher before.  J got about as far as the four feet mark, panicked, and clung to the teacher like a barnacle.  The other (female) teacher then took over with J.  He sat on the steps while she had him work on blowing bubbles.  But when it came time to put his head under, he refused. 

I could see from across the room that he was negotiating with the teacher, and she was letting him.  I was starting to get annoyed; he refused even to try.  He left the pool, and the teacher swam over to me explaining that he refused to do anything.  I managed to talk him into getting back in the water to play a few games.  That lasted about three minutes.  The teacher asked him to crabwalk about six feet to pick up a toy and again he refused.  I was reaching my limit.  It didn't help that, at a couple of times during the lesson, the male teacher (who wasn't even working with J) told me that at J's age, it's difficult to teach children to swim because they keep finding reasons to leave the pool.

J and I stayed a few minutes after the lesson to watch another boy.  Of course the male teacher commented that his student (a boy) was the same age as J; he was swimming freestyle and backstroke in the five foot deep water with no fear.  I mentioned to J that he could do that.  He said he couldn't.  I reminded him that he's never tried, so how does he know?

So here's what I want to know:  Will there be ANY activity in which J will participate without a problem?  I am grateful that he is incredibly intelligent, but I could do without the behavior issues.  I am amazed by his musical abilities, but I dread the last ten minutes of music lessons for fear that the teacher will have more comments about his impulse control issues.  I love J more than anything (save his brothers and father), but the constant conflict is wearing on me.

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