When Owen was a baby, we signed him up for "Baby and Me" swim lessons. We paid forty dollars so we could bob in the frigid water and listen to Owen cry and howl.
The class was taught by a distracted lifeguard-dude who was getting married, and was apparently the first person in the history of mankind to do so, because he never stopped talking about his upcoming nuptials. What he didn't do, however, was teach anything.
We would bob around the water with our babies, and periodically he would come up to my crying son and demand that he blow bubbles or kick his feet. Other than that, he left us to our own devices, and I spent most of the time simpering to Owen, smiling like a deranged clown, explaining that this was FUN and we were having a GREAT TIME.
Owen gazed at me, and if he could speak, he would surely have said, "Get me out of this water, Devil Woman."
Not surprisingly, we didn't do swim lessons last year.
This year, however, we are trying again. Owen is in a preschool class that meets in the evening. Paul and I meet at the pool. One night, he's in the water with Owen while I'm with Joel, and then we switch off the next night.
It's fantastic. The class is taught by an enthusiastic young man who told us three time in five minutes that he attends Virginia Tech. Go Hokie Nation! He sings songs with the kids, and teaches them actual skills like kicking and paddling, and breathing underwater. Owen is in heaven. He's a happy guy, but when we're singing and splashing, he is rapturous.
When it was Paul's night, Joel and I hung out in the baby pool. He cruised along the wall, stopped, smiled, and continued on his way. Periodically, he would splash, and laugh out loud when the water hit his face. He did his little Bobcat Goldthwait yelp, where he squeals, "Ga Ga GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" and bobs his head. He also did his little Joel dance, which thrills me to no end, because, just possibly, through a genetic mutation, I may have sired a child with...rhythm.
Swim lessons are a gift to our family because it's a pocket of time where we are solely focused on playing with the kids. There's no dinner to cook or dishes to unload or plans to make. We're like a school of dolphin, gliding and jumping through the water for no other reason than to feel the cool, perfect splash.