Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Swim Lessons

Just when I thought I couldn't take on any more with Cody's travel schedule (he's on a 10-day run, currently), I recently enrolled Caroline in swim lessons. 

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. 

Yep, she can't walk, but I'd like her to make it across should shit get real and we have to ford the river as a family. 

Truth: I'm not a strong swimmer but I'd like Caroline to be.
I want her to be better than I. 

We arrived to lessons thirty minutes early because I knew I'd have to sign my life away on paperwork saying they weren't responsible if Caroline slipped out of my arms. Or if I slipped on the wet tiles. And also that I'd not take pictures of anyone in the locker room. This is the world we're living in. I initialed "no promises" on the first two but signed off on number three. 

Then we traveled to the ladies' locker room to find it full of ten or so young girls, around age nine. Let me tell you about the confidence they had....I loved it so much. They were giggling and talking and joking and pulling spandex out of places that would have mortified their mothers. But they were having fun. I kissed the forehead of the chunk in my arms and hoped that one day she would feel comfortable in her skin, enough to have such fun. 

I've done a lot with Caroline, just she and I. At just 4 weeks we flew to and from Kansas City alone. That was just the beginning. I told a coworker recently that the more I do with her, the more empowered I feel. She doesn't prohibit me from anything - I just learn to get creative or stronger. In the last week she and I have planted the garden, checked, fed and rotated pastures for cattle on three different farms, pulled weeds, watered flowers, done our bill paying, grocery shopping, laundry, made freezer meals, attended church and a BBQ, and somewhere in there - we slept at the same time. And I went to work.
But none of this is impressive to any other mother. 

Let me tell you the hardest thing I've done with Caroline, yet: Swim lessons. 

Infant swim lessons are like an episode of Ninja Warrior where you don't let the participant sleep for 11 months, then you strip them of all modesty, then you tell them the reward at the end is passing a McDonald's at exit 137 off of I-70. 

The best thing about the young, confident girls in the locker room was having such hope in what is to come when raising a daughter. The second best thing was the fact that Caroline was so fixated on them that she had no idea that I changed her diaper into a "Lil Swimmer", stripped her of her daycare clothes and then attempted to stuff her into her tiny bathing suit. 

It was when I had to stand her up to stretch the straps over her shoulders that she realized mom was getting her into another "situation". Bless her heart. 11+ months old an already too long for a 12-month suit. We made it work but I think I have a few coupons to burn this weekend. 

FYI: I made quite sure no one else 
was in the locker room before snapping this photo. 

The secret in pre-gaming swim lessons is not letting her skin touch anything that any other person in the history of the world may have come in contact with. I'm not a clean freak (have ya seen our farmhouse?), but I've read just enough on the internet to know that public locker rooms are breeding grounds for bad stuff. 
Also, I got athlete's foot once when I was 13, and I'm not even athletic. So I know it travels. 

I had to change her diaper and put her in a bathing suit, then put myself in a bathing suit, without setting her down. Anywhere. She was in my arms the entire time. 
Shimmy Shimmy Coco Puff. Shimmy Shimmy....WOW.
And, I kept my shoes on. 

The easy part was the swim lesson itself. For not having a bathtub at home, Caroline sure acted like a water baby and was anxious to get out of my arms to explore the water. Unfortunately, my life jacket often got in the way and she had to pull me back to shore.  

The true test came after the lesson. 
You know, 
when you have to shimmy 
two soggy suits off of
two girls 
who wear their suits 
two sizes 
too small. 

Caroline only says three words clearly right now, but I'm certain that during this escapade she mumbled, "Mom, this is ridiculous."
I couldn't agree more. 

Once we were stripped of spandex, we reluctantly stood in line for the one shower in the joint that provided warm water. There we were, just she and I and a whole lot of skin, with other people watching. It was like labor again, but worse. At least when I was in labor I had enough sense to wash my face prior to, and I didn't look like Kiss crossed with a strung out mom. I didn't even think to wear waterproof mascara for swim lesson days. Caroline kept looking at my face and taking her tiny finger along my running, wet mascara and then licking it. She must have thought it was chocolate. 
If only. 

Once the public shower was ours, I gave her a quick sponge bath consisting of baby body wash under a shower head that spray every direction but straight. By the time I got the suds out of Caroline's hair the line for the warm water was seven deep. I felt guilty. 

I wrapped her, dried her, patted her, covered her, diapered her, lotioned her, and then stuffed her into a sleeper. She wasn't overly impressed but we were approaching bedtime so nothing short of her daddy would have impressed the baby. 

Caroline slept the entire ride home. I considered pulling into McDonald's for a quick cat nap, but people passed out in cars while kids are in the back seat is how you end up on the news. 

We're going to stay the course and attend every class we can this summer. 
Right after we buy swimsuits that fit. 


  1. I have 3 little ones under the age of 6. Let me tell you motherhood is marathon. It's nonstop all the time. I know the pain of swim lessons. Also, we all adapt to what we want to do as mothers. My kids never stop me from doing what I want to do. We have gone to antique stores to the grocery. It just learning to make it all work. You are an awesome Mom! You can do it!

    1. Kids in an antique store - I haven't even begun to think about that!! Thanks for the note of confidence - those are gold in motherhood.