Today was a Good Parenting Day. I don't feel like they happen terribly often right now, so I'm trying to celebrate them when they do. And I can't up with anything of significance for pilgrimage, so this will have to do!
Today was the first day of Pirate Jim's swimming lessons. He's been having them since he was 5 months old, but we've been having a hiatus since about April this year.
The pool where we used to go, very nearby, had a change of management at the start of the year, and all their good, experienced swimming teachers left. It took 5 weeks (that's half the term) before they had a permanent instructor for his class, and although I'm sure she was fully qualified, and probably really good with older kids, she wasn't very experienced, and didn't know how to handle a grumpy 2 year old.
She and PJ never clicked, and he hated going to lessons. I was determined to see the term through, but he howled every time the lesson started, refused to do as he was asked and often I had to physically force him to sit on the side of the pool for the 30 minute duration of the class.
The instructor just didn't know how to deal with his behaviour. The other kids in the class were a little older, and advanced more quickly, than PJ, and as the term wore on, she didn't seem to be able to tailor any of the drills to PJ's lower standard.
He hated it, I hated it, and I don't think the instructor much liked it either. It was terribly demoralising when he would leap up as soon as the class was over and dash for the toddler pool, where he would happily splash about for as long as I'd let him. He just hated the classes.
So we took a break over the winter terms.
I did some research and talked to other parents, and decided to enrol PJ this term at a pool about 15 minutes drive away.
This afternoon was his his first class.
I was pretty apprehensive, I have to admit. I went along fully prepared to bribe him into the water with anything (up to and including a pony), and even took my own bathers in case it took me getting into the water as well to make him stick it out.
I had been talking it up all week, and PJ was actually quite keen. We talked about all the other kids having lessons as we walked into the pool, and he was thrilled to see there was shallow toddler pool there. We got changed and he asked if he could go into the small pool.
"Yes", I said, "but only if you come out straight away when your class begins." He agreed, and when the whistle blew at 5:00 to signal the class change-over, I asked to come out. He did. First hurdle!
There were two other little girls in the class, and a very young-looking instructor. I've nothing against young at all, but after last time, I was worried that it would equate to "unable to handle toddlers".
But I needn't have worried. Another two instructors appeared, so there was one for each child. Within a few minutes PJ's instructor had him happily being towed around, although he was keeping a weather-eye on me sitting on the sidelines. But in less than 10 minutes, he had PJ totally focused on the exercises, and when they took the kids out of my line-of-sight, PJ didn't even notice.
After 20 minutes, I could see PJ leaping, unaided, from the side of the pool.
I was so proud of PJ today. He was clearly a little nervous about the new big people he had to deal with, but he was calm and (eventually) focused. And he obviously enjoyed it! After all, that's the main goal.
H came tearing up to me when the 30 minutes were up, and wanted to go back into the toddler pool. I explained that no, we had to go home to Papa and the Princess, and then he couldn't wait to get dressed and home to tell them all about it.
And now I think he's actually gone to sleep after only 10 minutes.
Good Parenting Day, I tell you.
Remind me of this when next I'm on the look-out for gypsies, will you?
edited to add: The Word for Friday is synchronise