At the beginning of the summer he didn't even know how to put his face in the water.
We'd have to arrive extra early to our lessons to give him a good half hour to even warm up to the idea of getting in the pool.
But then I had a moment of mommy genius (helped along by my own mother, because Grandma's really are incredible).
I had a hunch he was doing the crying/screaming stuff just out of habit, just because once he stopped crying, he was fine. No fear of the water or of swimming.
And every day, as we left, he was giggling, happy, yelling "Thank you!" to the teachers, and telling me how much he loves swimming and wants to swim forever.
So I'd say, "That's great, that means you don't have to cry tomorrow!"
And he'd look at me sideways...."Um, no, I think I probably will cry tomorrow too...."
We tried bribes, but they were never enough.
Until the day I bought him a treat ahead of time, and told him that if he cried when he got to swim lessons,
I was going to eat his treat. Without sharing.
He looked at me, horrified, and was quiet the whole drive over.
When we got to the pool, he walked right in, not a single complaint, as if it were no big deal.
And that was that.
Ellie was never very happy during swim lesson time, either. She'd whine and cry and say she wanted to go home. Almost-three-year-olds are almost as fun as three-year-olds.
From his lessons all summer, Nicholas has now learned how to swim, really truly swim. With his face in the water, his arms over his head, kicking his feet. It's amazing! His form is sure lacking, but for just nine half-hour lessons, I'm pretty impressed!
His favorite thing? Tossing the pool toys halfway across the pool and swimming to retrieve them. He could do this for hours.
You can bet we'll be doing lots and lots of practicing this winter.