Thursday, November 5, 2009
The Swimmer Boy
Tommy has started his swim lessons again.
The first time he went his real teacher was sick so he had a substitute. This substitute was…how should I put it delicately? Scary. She was this older Spanish woman who seemed to snap at the kids if they weren’t doing something exactly right. Tommy is sensitive. He always has been. He hates when someone is upset with him. He’s prone to bursting into tears. It’s just who he is. So when this teacher kept yelling, I was two seconds away from jumping off the bleachers and splashing her face with water.
I know that’s lame. The whole splashing her face with water thing, I mean. I’m just awful with confrontations against people I don’t know well. I never know quite what to do or say.
I did mention her hostility to the front desk though. The woman seemed to know exactly who I was talking about.
“Yes. She’s a bit...strong,” is what I was told which is a polite word for scary bitch. But then I was assured that Tommy’s real teacher would be there next week.
When we went back to Tommy’s lessons on Monday, I pumped myself up to demand a refund if the scary Spanish lady was back. She seriously terrified Tommy. He also said she’d start to jabber in Spanish. I noticed this when I watched from the bleachers. I really should pay more attention to Dora the Explorer. The only word I got from her was “water.”
I was all ready for my confrontation. I had one of my famous Passionate Speeches in mind that I give to Tom when I’m upset. I have no problems confronting Tom. But other people? That’s a bit harder. My speech was going to go something like this:
“I’d like a refund. The scary Spanish lady is frightening my son and I don’t want her to ruin his love for swimming. That woman is going to scare children away! I mean, swimming is already a sport that doesn’t get as much buzz as it is and could use all the people it can get. You walk into a store and you see a shirt for baseball, for basketball, for soccer, for hockey…but where are the swimming shirts? That’s what I want to know. Where are the swimming shirts?” Then I was going to hit the palm of my hand with my fist.
So yeah, the speech was a bit much. But seriously, where ARE the swimming shirts. Some stores have them, I know. But I went into this one store wanting to get a swim shirt for Tommy and they didn’t have one. And when I asked the store worker he looked at me as though I had a thong on my head.
“Swimming?” he barked.
“Yes,” I said. I wanted to add, “You know that thing people do in water.” But some people don’t get sarcasm.
“Why would there be a swimming shirt? It’s just fun and games,” the guy told me.
Okay yeah, swimming is fun and games. But it’s also hard work. I can’t even dog paddle to the end of the pool without losing my breath! There needs to be more swimming clothes. That’s all I’m saying. (Gymboree, take note. If I see one more baseball/football/soccer line I'm going to scream.)
Anyhow, the good news is, Tommy’s real teacher was there and she was nice.
Of course we got there early so I’d have time for my passionate speech. Seeing as I didn’t have to give my passionate speech we had to wait around. This little girl from Tommy’s class marched up to us and went,
“Want to see my scab?”
Obviously she hasn’t been taught people skills. Someone seriously needs to tell her that she cannot start a conversation like that.
“No thank you,” I said but it was too late. She was already twisting around and showing me this disgusting mark on the back of her leg.
“I fell down. It bled a lot,” she told me solemnly.
“Um. Ew,” I answered. Then I figured I should say something Mom-Like and went, “I imagine that hurt a lot. Are you okay now?”
The girl nodded. “Yeah. I also pulled off my fingernail. Want to see it?”
“No thank you,” I said but it was too late.
She showed me her bandaged finger.
I felt faint. I do not deal well with injuries.
“I think the lessons are about to start,” I said hopefully even though I saw that it was still ten minutes before they were supposed to begin. I was just hoping that she’d go away. Kids just seem to gravitate towards me. It’s like I have a neon sign blinking above my head that says, “Random freaky children! Come talk to me!”
“Do you know once I broke my nose? It hurt,” the girl continued.
I wanted to say to the girl’s mother, who was messing around with her BlackBerry and didn’t hear her daughter’s crazy conversation, “Does this belong to you? Could you deal with it? Please?”
I had to listen to her report all of her injuries. It was disgusting.
When the teacher mercifully called the class, my mind with whirling with images of bloody noses, scars..
I am pleased to say that Tommy enjoyed swim lessons this time. He easily dived into the water without hesitating for even a second.
When he gets really good, he’s talking about wanting to join the swim team. He says he wants to race against other people. I’ve reminded him that he can’t always win—that’s another thing, he gets all bent out of shape when he loses. This is why I hate playing games with him. The other day we played Chutes and Ladders and I won and he sulked for nearly an hour. He’s just like his father. I can’t even play the Wii against Tom because heaven forbid that I win. And when Tom plays against the computer and he loses, he’s all, “It’s CHEATING! I’m losing because it’s CHEATING!”
So before Tommy joins the swim team, we’re going to sit down and reiterate that he can’t always win.
Because heaven forbid if Tommy loses and he starts to yelp, “The other boy cheated!” at the top of his lungs.
I think I'd slide down in the bleachers and be all, "Lalala. Whose kid is that?"