Swim School Dropout

It’s like a right of passage these days to book your kids in their first round of lessons. I grew up taking dance lessons and playing softball, while Dan played baseball and football among other things. So these were obviously conversations as options for our kids once they reached the appropriate ages.

Swim lessons were also on our radar for the kids. Dan’s family has owned a house for years in Elkhart Lake, WI. For those of you not familiar with Elkhart Lake, it’s like the real life Kellerman’s only in Wisconsin. Sub out The Osthoff or Victorian Village for Kellerman’s. Plus, throw in a race track for good measure (Johnny would be proud). Every time I’m there I fully expect to bump into Baby and Johnny. Only this time they’re old and grandparents taking their grandchildren to Gessert’s for watermelon ice cream.

I digress…

Elkhart Lake is amazing, and the lake house is amazing. But it’s a lake house. You know on a lake. So it makes my mama heart freak the eff out. I tend to picture the worst case scenario play out in my head at all times. I’m pretty sure that’s a gift given instantly to all moms. Poof, here you now get to worry about everything for the rest of your children’s lives.

So that relaxing lake house of our pre-baby life turned into a beautiful house on a giant water tomb of death in my now mama world.

I told you, I’m really good at the worry thing.

Swim lessons became priority numero uno. My kid was going to learn how to swim. She was going to become one with the fishies. Ariel would be her new middle name.

In Chicago, there are an insane amount of swim lesson options. We eventually settled on Goldfish Swim School based on reviews and availability. I liked the friendliness of the swim center and how physically warm the pool was. For real, who wants to jump in a cold pool? Brrrr!!! Girlfriend started out at 14 months, because I wanted her to be a rockstar in the lake by the summer.

And with that the girl loved her first class. She sure looked like she was going to be a swim class rockstar.

She even liked the second class.

And then they put her face in the water.


This girl then decided she HATED the water. Hated it. It didn’t matter if Dan was in the class with her or if I was. Actually, scratch that, it was probably worse with me.

So we failed swim level 1.

Ok, it happens. We’ll try again. V’s nap schedule changed from two naps to one at this same time, and we couldn’t get into the weekend class we wanted at Goldfish so we checked out another option in the hood.

Ooof. Strike two. That was comically bad. Maybe it was just bad luck? Right? Maybe she just didn’t like the chlorine in their pool? Maybe it’s a phase? Other kids scream their entire class too, right?

Worried, we might have CPS called on us if we returned and our child screamed through another lesson, we decided it was time to look into swim option number three. So we found one our neighbors went to, and had good luck. Their guy was flying through the levels. This sounded promising! The third time had to be her charm.

We snagged our perfect Sunday morning spot, and celebrated. This would be it! V even seemed excited for her class. I was newly pregnant with E, and super sick but figured I could keep it together for class. When we walked in, I even spotted Steve Brady. Everyone knows Steve, right? Second to my love of Dirty Dancing, might actually be my love of all things Carrie related. And here sat Steve (well, you know the guy that played him on tv, but he’ll forever be Steve to me). This had to be promising. Celebrities taking their kids here must mean it’s good. Plus, it was Steve only minus Miranda. This was going to be the place where our girl became one with the fishies.

Cue the crying. I mean serious crying. V then decided to take her swim lesson protests up one whole notch. She meant business.

One of us puked during swim lessons. And it wasn’t mama.

My kid managed to clear the pool. I also didn’t get to meet Steve. Probably not the best time, as his kids were getting ushered out of the pool because of a puker.

Needless to say, we failed round three.

And four.

So we dropped out. We officially became swim school dropouts.

We still made trips to the lake during this time, and shockingly our little dropout seemed to love the water. Apparently, she loves it only when it’s on her terms. This is not shocking if you know our strong-willed diva child.

So we took a REALLY long break. Then we moved, and found ourselves around the corner from Goldfish again. So we signed up again.

We apparently are a glutton for punishment.

To our amazement, the fifth time worked. Our diva actually took to the water. She now loves to swim with the fishies.

What just happened here!?!

Our new found fishy comes back from class telling us it was great! She practices her “monkey cheeks” while she goes for her swim (aka bath)in our tub.

Fishy has taught us the utmost lesson in perseverance. Or resilience. Or both.

And now my mama heart can relax a wee tiny bit at the lake.Well, that is until we venture in the pool for E’s turn.

Cue mama panic in 3,2,1…

12 thoughts on “Swim School Dropout

    1. I’m not sure what clicked! I think maybe it was the age level she started at next. Mom and dad weren’t with her. So she had no one to cling to! It forced her to realize her friends in class were also doing things on their own to. Crazy kids!


  1. You’re a great story teller. My eldest started swim lessons at 6 months and loved it. My middle, on the other hand isn’t a fan. We’re taking a break till she can go in on her own.


    1. Thanks! It’s so interesting to see how different their little personalities are! Hopefully, your middle one grows to love the water eventually!


  2. Your story made me laugh! Kids are so funny some times. I am glad she finally decided that she liked her swimming classes and that you get to have some peace when you go to the lake house!


  3. This cracked me up! I am currently considering pulling my 7 year old from swim team. Oh my word. It is too intense. I am a firm believer in the “you sign up you finish” philosophy but I think I have met my match!


    1. We were raised in a similar household! We had to finish everything through, and then it was okay to not play or sign up again. But, I feel you on the spirited, strong-willed children! Good luck!


  4. My girls haven’t done swimming lessons and they have learned to swim pretty well on their own. It’s like a natural instinct I suppose!


  5. It’s so hard to know whether kids will love or hate something. My daughter is very stubborn too and we’ve learned to assume if we think she’ll love it, she’ll pretty hate it 😂


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