No Swimming Class Today

26 11 2006

Today was normally Eliana’s swim lesson. She looks forward to her 30 minutes in the pool with her swim instructor, Beth. All we in the morning, she say “I’m going swimming tomorrow”. We have to remind her that she goes swimming on saturdays, and sometimes that is still a few days away.  Even though she has a hard time to communicate it, I think she has a little understanding of the passing of time, and that days come and go with a certain frequency.

Two weeks ago, her regular teacher was unable to attend class and had a substitute set up. I never realized how much the teacher mattered in Eliana’s enjoyment of her class until she realized that her normal teacher wasn’t calling for her. It didn’t help that the teacher was a male, instead of a female. I think Eliana is comfortable with other girls more than guys (except for me, of course). She slowly made her way up to the pool entrance, not sure what to expect. I think she may have thought that perhaps this guy was just going to take her to her normal teacher. It wasn’t until he picked her up, and they went in the water together that she realized just want the day’s lesson had in store. At that instant, Eliana started crying. It was kind of humerous in the way she was crying, but I still found her dilemma sad. I know just how she felt: she liked her teacher, she was comfortable with her regular teacher because she has been in her class for about five months. That’s a long time in kid time.  Her substitue teacher knew what Eliana’s current swimming abilities were, and did his best to proceed along those lines. Through nearly every request the teacher made of Eliana, she let out a big cry, but still listened to the teacher. I think she still wanted to swim, and she was doing a really good job with her kicking and floating. She cried nearly to the end of the lesson when she realized (I think) that her time was almost up, and she wasn’t going to see her normal teacher. And, that she was just starting to get used to the new guy.

Last week, we were unable to attend Eliana’s normal swim lesson because of my big ride in El Tour de Tucson. So, when it was time to head to this week’s lesson, I was just as eager as Eliana because I wanted her to have a good time swimming. I knew she would have fun with her previous teacher, and she was only going to be out that one week.  After the normal running around we do prior to departing for the swim school, we arrived just on time.  The first thing I noticed that was different was there were no cars in the parking lot. Then, I pulled up and saw the sign that the school was closed for Thanksgiving.  How was I going to tell Eliana? I had sort of hyped it up all morning, not to mention that we just went through quite a bit of two-year-old resistance just to get out the door.

As soon as we pulled away, she wanted me to stop: “My go swimming today, Apa”. All I could do was say “Sorry, we’ll go swimming next week. They’re closed”.  I was so sad giving her the bad news. I wanted her to go swimming just as bad as she did, but was powerless to change the situation for her. I wanted to make it up to her, so for lunch, we went to a place that served free ice cream. I think she still would have been better off with the swim class, but at least today she learned what the word “Closed” meant. As we passed by other places that were empty or had few people near them, they were also “closed”.

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