Hello and happy Friday! I hope you have some fun weekend plans in store. Weather permitting, we’re going to a party on Saturday with a group of friends I’ve known forever and I’m really looking forward to it.
But backing up for a second, I want to talk about Wednesday. This past Wednesday I took Jackson for his first swim lesson at our local YMCA. (Quick sidebar, I’m no longer at my former job, which is why I was able to do this during the week. It’s kind of a long story and one for another post!) We have him in daycare twice a week and I wanted to find at least one activity to take him to on the days it’s just the two of us. I figured swim lessons would be great because he generally loves the water and enjoys being around other kids. This week was the first class, and I fully expected it to go well. I imagined Jackson having a ball and not wanting the class to end. Man, I could not have been more wrong! I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a complete and total disaster.
First, the main parking lot close to the entrance was completely full, so I had to go around the corner to an underground parking garage where they provide additional parking. That was also completely full. I finally found a spot on the other side of the building, a good 10-15 minutes later. This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal but when you’re toting a toddler and all of your swim gear in frigid temperatures and you have to walk a distance to get inside, it’s majorly annoying.
After the unexpected delay finding parking I was going to be late for the class, so I rushed with Jackson into the locker room. As soon as I set foot inside, he started wailing. Not just crying but full-on bawling with real tears and sobs. He is typically so joyful and happy and I still have no idea what set him off. I took him into the changing room to get him into his swimsuit and tried to calm him down, to no avail. I thought maybe once we got out of the locker room and into the pool he’d be distracted and would stop crying. Nope. The class started and we did intros, as best we could over Jackson’s screaming anyway, and I tried to get through the first exercise. When the crying continued without any sign of letting up, I just decided to throw in the towel and leave. He was obviously miserable and the crying was too disruptive to the other families.
So I dragged Jackson back to the locker room, still screaming, to get dressed to go home. Of course it’s freezing and winter and I was parked far away so I couldn’t just throw a shirt on him and call it a day. I spent another 15 minutes getting both of us out of our bathing suits (and his wet diaper) and into warm, dry clothes, hats, coats, etc. all while he continued screaming. I swear the staff must have thought I was torturing him! By the time I was finally ready to go, the class had ended and the other moms were starting to come into the locker room. I was on the brink of a meltdown myself at this point and on the verge of tears. As soon as we got outside Jackson stopped crying, of course, and he was mostly back to normal by the time we got home.
The whole experience was unexpectedly negative and it left me feeling frustrated, guilty and defeated. But I reminded myself that some days are going to be like this. You can’t win ‘em all and that’s okay. I can’t let this one experience scare me off of trying other things. Although part of me never wants to go to swim lessons again and I’m kind of dreading it, I’m going to take Jackson again next week. Maybe he was having an off day this time or maybe he’s just not ready. We’ll see.
If you’re wondering why I’m sharing this it’s because I feel like we rarely see the full picture of parenting on social media. Usually it’s all smiles and rainbows and perfection (I’m guilty of this too), but days like this happen too, and I think it’s important to share that side as well. On that note, have you had a similar experience to this? Or do you have any words of wisdom to share about how to make next week’s lesson go a little more smoothly? I’d love to know!