This summer, Miss M and AM went to day camp. It was a Pretty Big Deal (to them), because there was a bus and chocolate milk. “Every day, Ema.”
It was a Pretty Big Deal to me because it was swimming camp. Oh, there were “arts and crafts” (which rarely made it home in one piece, to my relief) and “science” (I have no idea), but they were in the pool every day for a 45-minute lesson and another 45 minutes of free swim.
This camp was far from perfect but they absolutely became better swimmers. Miss M has actual strokes now. AM can move himself across the water really well, and can take breaths without standing up in the pool.
All through June, when they asked to go to the deep end at the municipal pool, I demurred. “Let’s see how you’re doing after camp.”
And after camp, I finally gave them my blessing. Suddenly I had a lot more work to do at the pool, rather than just putting my feet in the water and looking around every couple of minutes. I was in the water next to them, exhorting them to stay next to the wall, telling them again and again that no, I can’t stand up in 2 meters of water.
But they do really well, while respecting their limitations. Their tendency to roughhouse in the shallow areas disappears in the deep end. They float and paddle along the wall and take leaps off the side trying to touch the bottom.
Or they did. Now every time I try to take them to the deep end, the lifeguard (different ones) comes over to scold me. “They’re ok,” I say. “They can swim well enough. The are next to the side. I am right here.”
“They are totally not ok,” is always the answer.
So we move to the 1.1 meter part, where I can stand and Miss M can stand. AM swims out to me and back to the wall repeatedly. It’s fine, I guess, but I am worried that the kids will lose some of their hard-won confidence. How many times can they hear that they’re not ok before they’ll start to believe it?
I was never a lifeguard, so I can’t judge the situation. It does seem to be that the pool is low on lifeguards, just 1 or 2 for a really large area (I could easily imagine 3-4 at a US pool of the same size). Are they being overly cautious? Is it just that they don’t want to bother watching me and my kids so closely?