Posted by Brian C. Hedger
Hedgeradventures special correspondent
It starts like every other swimming class we've attended the past month.
Sickeningly buff teenage lifeguard hops into pool. Shivers for a few seconds. Flexes his muscles to put on a show for all the moms. Then, he invites his young students into the water as if it's like hopping into bath water.
So, Tuesday morning, Liz Hedger does what she normally does at that point. Removes the cotton cover up. Heads for the water. Then, before she gets in with her flashy sandals still on her feet, she's nabbed by yours truly, who rescues the sandals just in time.
"Daddy, do you think my Dora band-aid on my toe will come off in the water?"
"Let's not worry about it, OK babe? Let's just get you in the pool."
Then, she's off.
I start to get settled onto my perch on the end of a pool chair, figuring we're in for yet another day of stout refusals to go under water, pained expressions while "back floating," half-hearted kick board efforts and numerous attempts to flee the pool while Mr. Buff Lifeguard (Brenden) isn't looking.
For kicks, I bring along my swim goggles -- just in case Ms. Lizzy might want to wear them at some point.
At the very least, she'll look adorable, right?
So, the lesson starts. And all three of the students in what is obviously the slow learner's class begin kicking while holding onto the wall. Liz has this part down, primarily because her face comes nowhere near the water.
Then, Lifeguard Guy announces they're all going to go under the water. And just as the lone boy of the three-person "class" begins to weep (loudly), Lizzy hops out of the pool and makes a bee-line for me with eyes as big as saucers.
Brenden (the lifeguard) hunches his shoulders. I do the same back.
"Here we go again ... Liz, get back in the water please."
But then, a stunner. I start to go through my daily begging routine for Liz to at least try when she stops me mid-beg and says, "Dad? I just want to wear your goggles, OK?"
"What?" I say. "Oh, yes. The goggles. Right. Are you going to go under?"
She nods, looking just a little freaked out.
"But I want to keep the water out of my eyes."
As Clark Griswold once said, I couldn't be more stunned if I'd woken up with my head sewn to the carpet.
So, we strap up her goggles and off she goes. Brenden picks her up, she bravely pinches her nose and down they go.
It's brief, just a dip, but it's the first time she's gone all the way under without throwing an all-out scolding, kicking, screaming, coughing-like-she's-dying tantrum.
She even keeps her mouth closed, which is a big, big deal for her.
She has a crush on Buffy the Lifeguard Lady Killer.
But, whatever works I suppose. The rest of the lesson goes just as well. Liz kicks excitedly on the kick board. And she even paddles and kicks without it (as long as dear Brenden, man of her dreams, holds onto her).
She finishes by just barely beginning to jump into the pool without holding onto Brenden's hands first. It helps that she has his neck and shoulders to aim for, which she clings to once in the water.
Still, overall, what a great day. For her. For me. For Brenden, too, I suppose.
She tried everything bravely. She went under for a split second. She kicked and paddled. And, when she was the last one out of the pool in her "class" -- getting one more jump in with Brenden -- her daddy performed a very tastefully done fist pump from his perch on the pool chair.
Here are some pics. They're from my cell phone camera, so not great. But you get the idea. Next time I'll get one of her wearing my swim cap and goggles. Too cute.
Lizzy and Evelyn in remedial swim class. Evelyn can almost float. Lizzy can almost lean back into Brenden without looking like she's getting a root canal.
Go Lizzy, Go Lizzy. It's your birthday. Not really. You did it. Went under. No screaming. You rock! Uh-huh. That's right.
Lizzy paddles and kicks with her beau hunk Brenden.
Fully enjoying a Dairy Queen chocolate-dipped vanilla cone ... and the spoils of victory!
UPDATE: Oops, spoke too soon. Today (Wednesday) Liz took a step (several actually) backward. Refused to go under again ... but did keep progressing with the whole jumping into Brenden's arms.
Here are some updated pics from today (and yes, you're welcome ladies).
Swim cap? Check. Goggles? Check. Ready to go under again? Uh, no way bub. I'm outta here! Lizzy in full-on escape mode during "going under" time.
"Now this is more like it!"
"Jump! For your looove. Jumpin!"
"OK, so you're not Brenden. Marcus you say? You'll do."
3 weeks ago