Despite some hemming and hawing, I placed Shortcake in a Level 3 class at the encouragement of a well respected and trusted lifeguard/swim lesson instructor. Shortcake showed great hesitation at being placed in this level and tried several times to convince me that she wasn't ready for Level 3, but I assured her that she could do it. Perhaps I should have let Shortcake's instincts lead the way. The youngest and smallest her in class of nine, she is by far the farthest behind in terms of swimming ability. God love her though. She tried so hard today and was so brave, never once refusing to do anything that was asked of her. Shortcake even abided by the number one rule of Level 3: no nose plugging. This may seem like a silly rule to you veteran or natural born swimmers, but to Shortcake the No Nose Plugging rule is a big deal. I think her teachers quickly realized that she's not up to speed with her classmates (really, it was quite obvious) and showed much patience and care when it was her turn to practice the given exercise.
Not meaning any disrespect here, but I firmly blame The General's DNA for any skill deficiency related to aquatic sports; my family tree is heavy with swimming talent whereas his family tree is more like a cactus since many of them don't really excel at the whole water thing (Get it? Family Cactus instead of Family Tree? Since a cactus doesn't really need water?). It all balances out though, for I take total responsibility for any and all inability our daughters exhibit when it comes to hitting, catching, or throwing a ball of any shape, size, or function. This also applies to any lack of artistic ability, subpar performance in card games, and an inability to follow a movie plot without asking "What's going on? Why are they doing that?" one thousand times during the course of the show.
Despite her lack of swimming ability, Shortcake showed absolutely no hesitation jumping off the diving board at the end of lessons even after the class was told that teachers were not going to catch any jumpers and instead only guide them to the side of the pool. Shaking from the cold, my brave girl walked up the steps, walked confidently to the end of the board, looked down at the water then over at me, and jumped. She bobbed up the surface on her own and then immediately started
While Shortcake was participating in her 50 minute lesson, Punkin went hog wild in the baby pool. She met up with a friend the girls made last weekend at The Bride & Drmmr7's house and together they splashed, jumped, swam, and waded to their heart's content. I warned Punkin not to have too much fun; I fully anticipated that by the time her turn for swim lessons arrived she'd announce that she was "too ti-uhed" to swim in a formal lesson format. Turns out I didn't need to be concerned. After securing a pink noodle, Punkin was in the big pool swimming like a lunatic. To be honest, I can't really tell her if swimming abilities are any better than Shortcake's or just appear to be stronger due to Punkin's exuberance. Truthfully, Punkin takes the same no-holds-barred, semi-spastic approach to swimming as she does to just about everything else in life. While Shortcake approaches swim lessons (and life) with caution and occasional trepidation, Punkin was observed jumping off the side without hesitation, kicking so hard it's a miracle there was any water left in the pool, and generally motoring around the shallow end with wild abandon.
The one thing that remains the same as last year for Punkin: a mid-lesson potty break. There is not much that is predictable about our youngest child, but it is a safe bet to assume that she will exit the pool with shouts of "I have to go to the bafwoom!" at some point in the second half of her lesson. I can only guess it's because of the ridiculous amount of water she ingests during her wild leg and arm thrashing. Finally, there was no opportunity for Punkin to jump off any diving boards today but I can assure you that she, too, looks stinkin' adorable hanging out by the side of the pool.
Here's hoping tomorrow's lessons bring warmer weather and sunnier skies, but the same high level of joy shown by my two little fish.