Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 4:06 am | Overcast 67º


Meghan Gesswein: Surprisingly, Child’s Pool Lesson Doesn’t Go Swimmingly

3-year-old uncharacteristically 'goes off the deep end,' making a scene not a splash

For the most part, my kids have always been fairly well-behaved. They’re relatively mild-mannered, have never been known to throw tantrums (thank goodness), and when they do get a little rowdy, they usually quiet down when they get “the look.” We are incredibly lucky.

Every once in awhile, though, they do something that completely blows my mind. Something so out of character that I’m left speechless and wondering what exactly is going on in their little brains.

Today was one of those days.

We’ve been talking for weeks about the fact that they were going to start taking swim lessons again. They have been looking forward to it. I dare say they were excited. Dylan, my 6-year-old, has always been the most reserved and nervous of my kids. Today he could hardly wait to get into the pool. He practically jumped out of his seat when they called his name.

But Zachary, who, at not quite 4, is without a doubt one of the most outgoing and personable people I have ever known, was the one who ended up being scared and unsure about swim lessons. He took them last year, so he knew the drill and knew what to expect. He even ended up with a teacher he had last year, so he was ahead of the game in that regard as well. This instructor, by the way, said “YES! I remember him from last year!” when he found out he had Zach.

Sadly, Zach did not share in his enthusiasm and as soon as it was time to get in the pool, he lost his cool. And burst into tears. Not just silent tears, but full-on crocodile tears accompanied by hiccuping sobs. It was a spectacle. Parents looked from him to me and back to him. The lead instructor tried as many tricks as he could come up with to try to distract Zach long enough to get him to stop crying. His poor instructor carried him around the pool and did whatever he could to calm him down.

The whole time I sat on the bench, watching and wondering what I could possibly say to him to get him to calm down. I was completely stumped, because it was so out of character I had no idea what approach to take.

Eventually their tricks worked and he and his instructor ended up having a good time together. Zachary says he’s excited to go back tomorrow, and I don’t doubt that he will be his usual outgoing and fun self. I’m still completely puzzled by today and will keep thinking about it so I can be prepared for it the next time something like that happens.

Although it will probably be a completely different kid in a completely different situation, and I’ll once again sit there without a clue how to handle it. These kids really do know how to keep me on my toes.

— Meghan Gesswein is a stay-at-home wife and mom to three young boys. A New York transplant, she has lived in Santa Barbara for the last 14 years. She writes on her personal site, MeghanGWine, and is also documenting her family’s home remodel on From Demo to Dream. She is a staff writer and special events editor for the online magazine Curvy Girl Guide and is a proud supporter and vice president of Friends of Maddie, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting families with babies in the NICU. She is often sarcastic and her work should be read with a sense of humor. And a cocktail. You can follow her on Twitter: @MeghanGWine, friend her on Facebook or reach her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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