We stood outside the pool with the other families, waiting for the head honcho of swim lessons--who was about 16--to call our kids' names.
A mom next to me scolded her son for touching a tree. Like monkeys, all three of my sons were swinging from a branch just a few feet away.
When they called Richie's name, J.J. was escaping toward the car. That's his new thing: when he doesn't want to be somewhere, he puts on his T-shirt and leaves. He's like an old man at a party: "Tell my wife I'll be waiting in the car. I want to be home for the 10 o'clock news."
I was chasing him. So Richie stood there looking all around, moving his feet, ready to go...if only he knew where. Finally, we found his teacher, and he followed his class to the shallow pool.
Parents were allowed to watch...from a safe distance on the other side of the water complex. I peeked over to see Richie kicking his feet--managing to keep the rest of his body dry.
It occurred to me that the hardest part of swim lessons is getting in the water. Because parents want their kids to take lessons at the beginning of the summer, and it's not pool weather yet.
But it's like anything, really. You just have to jump in. Learning to breath to the side, lift your elbows and kick your feet the whole time--that all comes later.
At some point, Richie must have gone under water because when I saw him afterwards, he had purple lips and his wet hair was plastered to his forehead and ears.
"We learned how to scoop ice-cream, mommy," he said, showing me with his arms. "And I made a new friend."
His teacher had let him use her "big towel" since, in the hubub earlier, I had forgotten to give him his duckie towel. Now, he shivered as we walked over to his towel.
"Tomorrow, we're going to swim like Superman," he said, smiling.
"He did a good job," his teacher said. "The water was cold, but he got in eventually."