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Horrid swimming lesson - I feel awful :(

(10 Posts)
ellesabe Tue 18-Oct-11 12:13:35

Sorry, this may be quite long.

We were unable to attend dd's swimming lesson last week so we arranged an alternative one today with a different instructor.
Dd has not been herself this week - not obviously ill but grumpier than usual and sleeping lots. She didn't wake up until 9am this morning (unheard of) but I thought that at least she'd be bright and cheerful for the lesson at 10.

When we started the lesson dd was her usual self but it soon became obvious that the group we were with today, although they were the same level, they were much more capable than our usual group and they did a lot of things that we have never done before.

Dd didn't cope at all well, started crying and clinging onto me. Our usual instructor responds really nicely to any crying, gives the babies a cuddle or gives them back to their mum, not pushing them too far. The instructor today however said that dd was at the age when babies start to become quite strong-willed and that I should just carry on so that dd didn't start to learn that if she cries then she won't be made to do the swimming activities. When dd is upset I would usually give her a cuddle but I was made today to feel that I wasn't allowed to do that.

I didn't feel very comfortable with this but could kind of see her point so tried to carry on with the activities, all the while feeling very conscious that all of the other babies seemed to be coping fine.

However dd became more and more distressed and almost hysterical, even with activities that she usually does and usually enjoys. She was absolutely screaming and shaking with fear. I'm not sure if it was because she had been a bit freaked out by the challenging nature of this different group or whether she is maybe coming down with something (or a combination of the two) but the instructor eventually pulled us to one side, at which point I burst into tears sad

At this point I think the instructor realised that she had maybe pushed it a bit too far and was very nice, saying that we should just spend the rest of the lesson playing with the toys in the corner of the pool.

The worst thing about the whole episode though was that the other mums completely blanked me! I felt like a complete nutcase for crying in the swimming pool (I never usually cry - no idea what came over me) and a bit of a loser for being the one with the useless baby (I know it's a horrid thing to think but that's what it felt like). But the whole time afterwards in the changing room, not a single other mum asked me if I was okay or even spoke to me, despite the fact that I was still upset. All I got was a couple of sympathetic smiles from just one mum. The rest of them acted like I wasn't even there.

I just feel so awful for putting my dd through that and I think I just wanted someone to reassure me that my she would get over it.

I'm hoping that you lot might be a bit friendlier and understanding. I'm not just being a bit pfb am I? Please tell me I'm not smile

Gurraun Tue 18-Oct-11 12:27:17

Ah you poor thing, the lesson, teacher and the other mums all sounds horrid.

However, no lasting damage will have been done. You don't say how old your dd is, but judging from the clingy comments somewhere between 6 and 12 months?

My ds starting swimming lessons (if you can call them that) at 12 weeks - the first session was horrible as the organisation (I later learnt they have a reputation for this) had little babies underwater at least 6 times per session. He and I were both miserable and stressed and he started to even hate baths.

I swapped groups at around 10 months and have been going on and off since then - 22 months old now. Some days he or the others aren't up for it and cry (cling on) but most of the time now they all love it. I think on balance the baby swimming does leave them (by the time they are 2 or so) enjoying water and having fun, but there will always be the odd day they are not up for it and before they can really talk their way of showing you will be to cry.

Forget about it - she probably already has :-)

MadameCastafiore Tue 18-Oct-11 12:29:03

Sorry that you had an awful morning but why did you not get out of the pool with your daughter sooner???

cjbartlett Tue 18-Oct-11 12:29:06

crumbs I woulnd't bother
just take her swimming on your own if you fancy it
mine started swimming lessons at 5 years

midoriway Tue 18-Oct-11 12:31:21

It took me a few reads to realise that this was not a regular swim lesson, (with goggles and lost socks and shouty instructors, and the usual nonsense) but a parent/baby water session.

I'm not going to accuse you of PFB, because I think there are other problems. Whatever the actions of the instructor and the other mums, what jumps out in this story is that you really struggled to cope emotionally with a relatively simple difficulty, ie baby not thrilled with change.

The other mums probably did look at you a bit oddly, maybe because they were a bit stunned by such an extreme reaction from you.

I really hope you have support and feel you can reach out for it, because it doesn't sound like you are travelling well at the moment. Look after yourself, your daughter needs a mum who can cope with stuff.

KatieMortician Tue 18-Oct-11 12:41:53

Sounds like your baby's coming down with something and you misjudged it today. Don't worry about it - put it behind you and move on. Next time will be better and it happens to even the best of us. The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I expect the other mums felt embarrassed and awkward. Again just ignore. They're not your friends so their opinion is worth bog all.

A finally, have a brew, give dd a cuddle and spend the rest of the day doing what you fancy. By tomorrow it'll all feel much better.

foreverondiet Tue 18-Oct-11 12:45:03

Personally I am not really sure why anyone pays for baby and parent lessons, IMO no need just take them yourself!

We didn't do lessons until 3.5 years (although went regularly before then) and my kids were just as good / confident as those who had been going to the parent and baby sessions.

Aside from that I don't think PFB more not really sure why you continued with the lesson when your DD wasn't enjoying it, esp as you thought she might be coming down with something. I also think that if you are attending a different lesson the onus is on you to fit in, so I would have just got out when it was clear your DD wasn't enjoying it.

re: bursting into tears, I agree an extreme reaction, so they were probably surprised. I agree that it indicates not really coping.

FWIW DS1 (age 5) has just transitioned from little pool to big pool in his lessons and he is not enjoying it. The first week he faked a tummy ache. I wouldn't have tried to push him to do an activity he wasn't enjoying, certainly would have called it quits earlier with a baby. I think thats why I prefer to take DS2 (18 months) rather than do lessons - toddlers are more unpredictable so easier just to go on own.

grumpypants Tue 18-Oct-11 12:53:45

I don't think the instructor pushed it too far: i think you just had a rubbish time. The other mums were probably silently willing you to get out with the shrieking baby, to be brutally honest, so they could get on with their lesson undisturbed.
The whole being in a costume, different instructor, unfamiliar activities etc can be enough to get you upset on the wrong day, so chalk it up to experience. Next time something is a bit cr*p, choose to leave. Youre probably a really nice person, felt you had to stay, don't sweat it.
Have a cup of tea, chat to a mate, and one day, it will be a really funny memory.

Thzumbazombiewitch Tue 18-Oct-11 13:03:01

I understand your issues, especially with an instructor who was a bit more strict about not "pandering" to the babies. My DS started having issues with baby swimming after an underwater photoshoot and they got progressively worse, to the point that I could barely get in the pool with him. sad The instructor was kind but it was distressing for all of us; I ended up playing in the corner with him as well.

We stopped the lessons, and I took him a couple of times to our local pool - but both times had another bad experience, one where he slipped and fell underwater (I had him out again in seconds) and the other when the big "umbrella" spray went off as he was underneath it. <sigh>

He's now 3.10 and has just started formal swimming lessons - the baby swimming was useful in that he knows what to do with his arms and legs but he STILL can't bear going underwater, or even having it poured on his head.

Sorry, sidetracked.

Re. the mothers - I found my group were very standoffish as well - none of them really chatted or mingled after the lesson, all too busy getting their DC dry and home again. I wouldn't read too much into it.

ruddynorah Tue 18-Oct-11 13:12:13

Stop the lessons. Just take her swimming. She can start actual lessons when she's 4 or 5.

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