Friday, May 14, 2010

Let's go swimming

About a month ago, I'd pretty much convinced myself that if I were a stay-at-home mom, my parenting would be very much different than it is now. Cam would be fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and we'd communicate mainly through baby sign, which I would know because I would study them both with vigor during his nap times. Instead of the thrown together pre-breakfast snacks I usually provide (mostly graham crackers, sometimes apple sauce, and lately oranges that must be sliced before they go bad), he'd have wholesome, organic meals, made fresh by me. Then we'd practice our braille.

Alas, since stay-at-home mommyhood is not an option, I did the next best thing: I went searching for something that would create a mother/son bonding option. And what I found was swimming lessons.

The day before the first lesson was like the night before the first day of school. Though I'd purchased him a swim outfit weeks before, I headed to Target to purchase a reusable diaper, which the swim lesson company claimed was a necessity. I also grabbed another swim shirt, you know, just in case.

After work, I picked Cam up as usual and headed home to let Taz out before heading over to the lesson. I grabbed out suits and towels, threw them into a beach bag and headed to the pool. Which was outside. And had no changing room. I knew something was wrong when I saw a mom wearing a swim dress putting her daughter's suit on in the parking lot. After sending a frantic text message to the mom who recommended the class, I quickly changed Cam in the car and pulled out my own suit. I was dissauded by a dad who hovered near his minivan, which I was parked next to, and dashed inside the school to look for a place to change.

As I ran into the doorway, I was stopped by a newly-natural mama who was hiding her hair underneath a wig. At that point, I was already sweating, had 10 minutes until class and was in no mood for a conversation about how my hair did "that." But, after being a member of Nappturality for a few years, I knew the ire it drew new naturals when they felt brushed off by fellow nappies. I didn't want to be the reason this woman refused to wear her hair out or went back to the perm, so I took a few minutes. Once we finished, I ran through the school, found a bathroom and poured out the contents of my beach bag. No swimsuit. I'd left it in the car.


So back to the car I went. There was no more time to go back into the school -- the woman who showed me in told me they were closing -- so changing in the car was back on the table. I won't go into the details, but I will say this: Changing into a miraclesuit in an enclosed space that's about 90 degrees? Not a good idea.

Finally, we make it out of the car (hopefully) unseen. And I realize that Cam has no shoes. Hey, it's not my fault! I had no idea the swimming pool was outside! For some reason, I envinsioned the pool as one of those shown in high school horror movies -- indoors, heated, surrounded by gleaming tile and adjacent to his and her locker rooms.

Once the lesson started, Cam seemed a bit surprised at having the water in his face, but by the end of it, he'd gotten used to it. He kicked his legs, moved his arms and even went under water the first day.

I don't know if he will know how to swim at the end of the month's worth of lessons, but even if he doesn't, I appreciate the experience of watching him watching him brace himself each time he know's he's about to be dunked. And that bonding is priceless.

Even if we never learn to speak Mandarin Chinese.

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