“So there was this little ‘a-hole kid’ in Annie’s swim class this summer.”
That was how I originally planned to start this post, but when I re-read the sentence I realized it was no way to talk about a little guy. Still, this kid definitely made Annie’s swim class… interesting.
You may remember from previous posts that Annie started the summer in a beginner’s class where she swam with a parent, then graduated to the next class, where – gasp – she went into the pool by herself along with two other toddlers and an instructor.
I was nervous at first (and prepared to dive in should anything go wrong), but relaxed upon seeing the instructor was great and that most of the instruction took place on the steps. There was something that concerned me though: one of Annie’s fellow students, the lone boy of the trio, would not listen to a thing the instructor said. That alone wouldn’t have been a big a deal – we’re talking about two and three-year-old kids here – but he also floated under the water for disconcertingly long stretches of time, and swam away from the group any chance he got.
This meant that the instructor had to focus 80% of her attention on this kid, and Annie and the other student got the short shrift. Many times the instructor turned to Annie, ready to teach her how to kick or paddle, then realized the boy had been under water for thirty seconds and raced over to fish him out. This happened over and over, so much so that the instructor often ran out of time to work with Annie.
Most alarmingly, at one session he was under water and swimming away from the group when he hit his head on a railing and didn’t come up. A lifeguard had to jump in and grab him, and when he surfaced he was a bit dazed. Scary.
On the drive home I told Heather that the kid’s mom never should have brought him back after seeing how he acted the first day. Later though it occurred to me that his mom might have worried that if she stopped bringing him she’d be doing him a disservice because he really needed socialization. It also occurred to me that she may have been a good parent who worked really hard with him, but that he just had issues for whatever reason.
Heather and I considered complaining, but decided against making an awkward scene at the pool – especially since Annie was happy enough just splashing around. In the future though it won’t be such an easy decision, especially if the disruption has a more substantial impact on Annie. If (or more likely when) the day comes that there’s a kid disrupting Annie’s class, team, or circle of friends, what do we do as her parents?
I’m hoping that I’ll develop some kind of instinct that will tell me when it is time to step in, but something tells me it won’t be that easy.