A day full of children

Published 1:05 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When my cousin and best friend inquired last week if I would be available to baby-sit her 4-year-old son on Saturday, of course I said yes.

However, little did I know that Cole had swimming lessons and a birthday party to attend that day. As with any child-related activity, I woke up that morning with an intense feeling of trepidation settled deep in my gut. I dreaded the challenge of keeping a 4-year-old alive and under control throughout two activities involving other children.

First up was the swimming lesson. We arrived at the Taylor Bend Family YMCA just in time. I got Cole changed, navigated him through the maze of the locker room and showers, and took him right up to the edge of the steps.

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I guess you can lead a child to water, but you can’t make him get in.

Frozen at the edge of the pool, Cole grasped the metal bar and stared at the other five children in the pool. I leaned down and managed to convince him to inch timidly toward the water, and even to dip in a toe. But all my efforts attempting to get him to get in and sit down on the step were fruitless.

Eventually, one of the two teachers of the class invited him to sit down.

With no further prodding, Cole got right in and took a seat on the second step. Little stinker.

Relieved, I stood back to enjoy the show. The two teachers – I don’t know their names, but they were great – held each child as they swam a few feet and back to the step. They then strapped on flotation belts to give the swimmers more freedom, and on the third trip the teachers barely held them at all. Cole looked a half-second away from panic the entire time, but at least he was in there.

The next task was to retrieve a diving ring placed on the third step, for which the children had to put their faces in the water. I’m not sure if Cole opened his eyes, but somehow he lucked out and found it.

The grand finale was the challenge for each child to jump off the side of the pool. Several of the children jumped right in, but Cole required the teacher to catch him so that his face wouldn’t go under water.

All in all, the lessons were successful. I came away with a living child who announced the lesson was “kind of” fun (after denying any fun minutes earlier). We also made it alive through the birthday party later on in the day, thankfully.

Many thanks to the swim teachers at the Taylor Bend Family YMCA!