Swimming lessons were all downhill from there.
I can't remember how many years I had to take swimming lessons. It was probably three or four, but in my memory, it seems like I took decades of swimming lessons. I never made it past the "beginner" level. I grew to be embarrassingly old to still be in the "beginner" class. The class after "beginner" was called "advanced beginner", which means I couldn't even pass the most basic of the beginner classes. Actually, I think I finally -- just barely -- passed the beginner class. I seem to remember having a deal with my dad that if I finally got out of the beginner class, I could quit swim lessons altogether, because even my own family seemed to sense how hopeless the swimming-lessons situation had become.
The story my parents absolutely love to tell is how -- when I was around WCK's age -- my whole class was in line for the diving board. I was the last kid in line. They looked away for a few minutes, and when they looked back, I was still the last kid in line. No matter how much time went by, I was always the last in line. They finally figured out that I was letting everyone go ahead of me, over and over, because I did not want to go off the diving board. Hey, diving boards are scary! Finally, the teachers figured this out, and one of them walked me up the diving board and down to the edge, and then grabbed my arms and lowered me down to the teacher waiting in the water.
Oh, how far the bubble-blowing champion had fallen.
But I am happy to report that WCK is doing really well at swimming lessons. She's always happy to go to her lesson and follows the teacher's instructions with a big smile on her face. She's in a class with three other four- and five-year-olds, and they're all just the cutest things ever. I can already tell she's learned new things since last week.
The different class levels are named after sea animals. WCK is in the "turtle" class, which is the very beginning class. Level two is "duck", level three is "penguin" and so on. There are a total of 10 levels, all the way up to "whale." The other day on our way out, we discovered a table of free coloring sheets featuring the different swimming animals. Now, WCK has picked up lots of free coloring sheets in her day, but I have to say that this coloring sheet is the most awesome kids' coloring sheet I've ever seen in my life:
Yes. What is the backstory here? Apparently, the poor turtle experienced a near-drowning, no doubt because his dad allowed him to quit swim lessons before he reached the "advanced beginner" class. A lady stingray, all dolled up in false eyelashes and lipstick, passed by on her way to a formal affair, saw the struggling turtle, and rushed to his aid. As she was about to give him mouth-to-mouth, she discovered, to her horror, that she was completely helpless. (WCK pointed this out: "How can the stingray help the turtle, Mama? She doesn't have any arms!") Just as the poor turtle was seeing a flock of turtle angels beckoning him to crawl slowly into the light, an ambulance screeched to a halt, and -- PRAISE THE BABY JESUS! -- out popped a life-saving duck. Or possibly a flamingo.
See? Greatest coloring sheet ever.