At 6.45am Rockstar abruptly sits up in bed. “Mummy wake up. Go outside.” He’s 90 minutes earlier than usual. “Watch news. Eat cereal.” My son has morphed into a drill sergeant over night. I could almost respond “Sir, yes Sir!” It’s our first parent-toddler swim class today.
His father begins a stern talking-to, after his emotional-blackmail stunt the previous day. We brandish the ultimate stick: No classes as punishment for future bad behavior. We are rewarded with a winning smile. Who, me, naughty?
You can even clip my toenails.
We set off for his class location a good 45 minutes before time, on what is at most a 15 minute leisurely walk to our destination. 3 small playgrounds stand between swim school and our apartment and Rockstar has never been to this indoor pool so I budgeted for lots of settling time. This morning Rockstar doesn’t even glance at the playgrounds, with their tantalizing slides (normally he loves slides) and climbing frames (ditto). We pass children driving little red cars and paddling about on bikes, another particularly insidious temptation for my car-crazy son, on any other day except today.
Inspecting butterflies… noticing huge slugs on the floor…
Arriving early, we have time to roam the whole indoor pool facility and are in the Jacuzzi when the teacher and his classmates arrive.
“Mummy. (He wants to) Go home.” My heart skips a beat but I manage to cajole him along as the class starts. He clings to me like a leech. Most activities are punctuated by “no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.” “That’s good”, his swim instructor says. “He’s not screaming.” I look longingly at some of the other participants – the youngest 2 haven’t quite started speaking yet.
Time crawls by. Every time I think class has got to be over, it’s been just 5 minutes since the last time I glanced at the clock. Rockstar is stiff as a board and my rash guard has fingernail marks in it. Though he does manage a few exercises quite well after a lot of warming up.
May the force be with you
Suddenly all his classmates are leaving. I glance at the clock. Class has been over for 5 minutes. Rockstar won’t leave. “I thought you wanted to go home?”
“No.” His teeth are chattering and he has goose bumps all over. But he won’t leave. We stay awhile more, but ultimately the only way I get him out willingly (still chattering away) is by telling him he must rest because he’s coming back with Daddy tomorrow. Then he purposefully gets out of the water.
At home, he demands I fill the tub instead of our usual after-swim shower. Then he sits in it quietly for a good half hour, occasionally muttering thoughtfully to himself. Thing is, I thought he was a toddler.
Didn’t move for 2 1/2 hours. Not even a twitch.