Sunday, June 26, 2011


For a boatload of reasons, Mike and I wanted Eva to have swimming lessons this summer. Mostly, Mike wants her to be just like him (he's a swimming superstar who still holds the state record for 10 year olds or something like that), and I want her to be safe in the water. Thus began our search for a swim instructor who would teach her and 3 "not-yet-4-year-old-friends-so-can't-do-the-WCU-lessons" to swim at my parents' pool. We wanted a program to help her really swim; not just float or kick while holding a board. SWIM. Finding an instructor to do this proved to be really difficult, but I finally found a KICK-A** instructor who is, well, KICKING A**. Our kids are learning to swim for real! Renata is the teacher's name, and she is totally rad. :)

This, however, has not been an easy-peasy journey. Turns out, the "real-deal" kind of swim lessons are not for the faint of heart. If you can't handle having your toddler RIPPED out of your arms kicking, clawing, and screaming, or swallowing so much water that she vomits on her teacher (several times), or somehow can still cry and scream bloody murder while sinking under the water, or refusing for days to stay on her back, and thus peering at you just under the surface of the water with the most petrified face you could ever imagine because they think they are drowning (and you think for a few seconds that they might be, too)- Well, DON'T DO THESE KIND OF LESSONS.

I'll admit, I cried a few times. Eva did great the first 10 minutes of the first session. The other 3 kids were crying hysterically, and she was sitting on the side, holding her ears to block out the noise. The teacher came to her for her turn, and she went right to her, calmly doing exactly as she was told. I was so proud. But, then something terrible happened. I don't know if her friends' crying just got to her, or what, but she began crying, and she didn't stop. It became more intense, and more hysterical, and more irrational as the lesson went on. When it was all over she announced she was not going to do this again, very matter-of-factly. It was the second lesson, which was even worse than the first, that had me in tears, too. 

I did everything I could think of to help her calm down- praying with her, singing to her, quoting verses to her, telling her that the other kids couldn't hear the teacher, asking her to cheer for her friends, bribing her with candy and cake. The list goes on and on. Nothing worked. On day 3, I was doing flowers for a wedding, so it was Mike's turn to take her. Smart man- he decided to send his mom out with her. The lesson began like the others with all the crazy crying until her very last turn (lessons are 1 hour so this gets REALLY old). She calmly went to Renata and listened AND OBEYED!! She did it. What a relief- I hoped we were over the hump.

Fourth lesson (today): 1st turn, crying. Then, MY GIRL ROCKED! She did it! Swam on her back all by herself. I've never been so proud. We made pink icing for her to dip fruit and graham crackers in for a special treat to celebrate (this is what the princess requested)!

Her buddies- Caleb (cousin), Rowan, and Penny are also doing so great! Rowie and Penny still cry some like Eva, but they ALL can swim without help on their backs. It's awesome! And, my nephew, Caleb, is a superstar! He went off the diving board and is even learning strokes for swimming on his belly. I'm so proud of these kiddos! What an amazing picture of facing a fear, persevering, and having success. This has been a powerful example of "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!" None of them thought they could swim alone, but they prayed for God to make them brave and now they KNOW He answers prayer!

Eva crying as Mike passes her off to Renata.

Eva later as she learns she can do it when she listens and obeys!!

Rowan- floater extraordinaire

Eva watching Rowan and feeling proud.

Penny needs a little pep-talk before her turn.

Rowan makes it to the steps all by himself!

Rowan is scared to jump in, but he does it and goes right to his back and swims!

Caleb is learning strokes.

Caleb swimming like a pro.

So proud, and rightfully so!

Eva getting some hugs from a proud papa.

Caleb jumping in- no fear here, folks.

Penny knows her turn is coming and isn't too happy about it!

Show off :)

Rowan- isn't he adorable?!?!

You are doing it, Penny!

Go Eva Go!

Made it all the way to the steps!

Do I have to jump?

Uh, YES!

She swam the entire length of the pool by herself.

Definitely needs a high five for that!

Rowan is a champ!

While in the water, he said to Renata, "Are you going to leave after this one?!?!" 

He's happy- it's over!


a blog full of weldons. said...

this was such a beautiful post! that video of eva is priceless! thank you for capturing so many cute pics of my rowie! these kids are so adorable and i am SO proud of the progress they have made!!!

The Raudenbush Family said...

Just hopping over from Angie's blog -- I think I'm too faint of heart. I'd be sobbing like a crazy lady and having nightmares, I think. Love the end product, hate the process. How typical of me. :)


We're the Wells family. We currently consist of Michael (husband and daddy), Lauren (wife and mama), Evangeline (daughter and princess), and Samuel (son and prince). We live a pretty simple life loving the many blessings that God grants us each and every day.
Mike is a genius carpenter/contractor and works throughout neighboring counties. Lauren stays at home with Eva and Sam most of the time, but works a few days a week as a therapist.
More than anything else, we love being together as a family- trips to the gardens, swimming at Grammie and Papa's house, and bike rides & walks are probably our most frequent activities. We're surrounded by our family (siblings and parents); they all live within 30 minutes of us!
That's us in a nut shell.
We're thankful you dropped by our site!