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?"


  1. The Spanish lady DOES sound scary!

    And I always attract the freakazoid kids, too. What is UP with that?

  2. Even terrifying Spanish teachers could not get me to actually sit down and pay attention to Dora. My brain would leak out my ears in an escape attempt, I'm sure. . .glad it all worked out!

  3. Swimming is absolutely exhausting. Just thinking about swimming gets me tired.

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  5. I agree- scary spanish lady should stay at home and make swimming shirts for all the kids she FREAKED!

  6. I'm glad his real teacher showed up bummer for you especially after you practice your bass ass speech! Tommy looks so cute in his goggles! Hey swimming is a tough sport!

  7. such a handsome boy he is too!!!

    yea, confrontation.. actually i try not to do it at all.. i keep it all bottled up inside.. yea, really healthy, i know!

  8. That poor accident-prone child! Maybe her mom should get off her crackberry and pay more attention to her daughter! Don't all boys get bent out of shape when they lose? Isn't it like part of their genetic makeup? LOL! :)

  9. James always accuses me of cheating. It gets old. Then sister pipes in with "There are no losers. We all WIN!". Miss ray of sunshine.

    The picture is cute!

  10. Spanish lady sounds super scary.

    Isn't it fun teaching them they can't always win....yeah, I don't think so, either.

  11. Nothing will bring out Mama Bear then her upset, mistreated cub! A slap of the fist into the hand for emphasis was very well thought out. I was rooting for you! Too bad you didn't get to use it but now you're ready for next time someone messes with baby bear, right?!

  12. "does this belong to you?" - love it and intend to use it...

    But she was so proud of all her battle scars! It's like when a bunch of women get together and talk about our deliveries...

  13. I need to get Hayden back into swimming. He loved it too.

  14. I can't believe that you had to listen to that litany of injuries!

  15. I hate Dora. Though I can speak Spanish now.

  16. OK, first visit to your blog and I am in love...

    First, because your son is wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey...

    Second, because you're standing up for swimming! I swam competitively growing up, and got a lot of grief in high school from people who thought it was a leisure activity, not a sport. Thanks on behalf of all us water-logged parents!


  17. Whew..Thank goodness scary Spanish lady was not there again and Tommy had fun. Even if he wants to race now and win and call cheating and well, act like a boy/man. Since they never really change when it comes to that:)

    Stopping by from SITS. I am SO glad I found you.

  18. I don't know what's funnier...imagining the Spanish lady or the fact that you had a speech ready!!

  19. I'm glad you mentioned it at the desk on your way out. Maybe if enough people complain about her, she won't be a sub anymore. Hooray for Tommy liking his teacher and his sport.

    And how can people say swimming isn't a sport? It's in the flipping OLYMPICS for crying out loud.

  20. *giggles* Your posts are like a... a... a... balm to my soul. I've missed you!!! (sorry that sounded so... whatever) I haven't been reading because I've been confined to bed for the most part of a week. I'm finally back at my computer although still sick and cannot fully catch up yet, but you bet your arse I will!!!! And you know something else?

    I. am. on. to. you.

    That Tommy is a Michael Phelps in the making!!!

    Igmore me. It's the medication talking. I swear.

  21. I don't know what it's like to have a sore loser as a husband... HE ALWAYS WINS AND IT'S SO DAMN ANNOYING!

  22. I'm glad he stuck with it. I would be scared!

  23. I'm so glad my kids are teenagers otherwise I might have been worried that it was my kid talking to you. Around my house "wanna see something gross?" is a definate conversation starter.

    Yeah, Sean was always, the xbox cheats! So I feel your pain. I had to make a rule that if he was going to play he couldn't get mad when he lost or I'd put it away while he calmed down. Do you know how hard it is to wrestle an xbox 360 from a 16 year old boy who's bigger then you??! Haha. I tease. Kind of.


  24. As for Spanish, I can recognize most insults. You'd want to listen for "ahogar" and "tu madre". Anything to that extent means "I'm going to drown your mother!!!" And some angry gibberish.

    But picturing her makes me laugh. :) Go Tommy!

  25. WOW - a scary spanish teacher as a swim instructor? Unheard of! HA! However, I am so happy Tommy's real teacher was back and he had a great time the second time around. LOL about the husband being a sore loser when it comes to playing games. My husband's brother taught my kids (at an early age) to cheat on board games, etc., - needless to say, we had to teach them how NOT to cheat! HA!

  26. I've always wished I could swim, you know like a real swimmer, not just doggy paddle and the frog!

  27. Your son is gorgeous!! Mean people shouldn't be allowed to work with kids.

  28. I'm glad you were ready to fight for a refund and pull Tommy out of class if the mean teacher was back. You don't want to scar the kid for life. I'm happy his real teacher was back.

    Yes, soon it will be time to sit down and talk with Tommy about him not being able to win all the time.

    I know when my kids would whine about, "THAT'S NOT FAIR", I'd always say, "Guess what? LIFE is not fair!"

  29. I'm very proud of Tommy-- vicariously, of course-- but he's a great kid, and the winning stuff will all fall into place. It's good that he's taking swim lessons-- I love that! --and he's so cute, too!

  30. My son had a scary swim teacher once. He was scared during part of the lesson and she told him to stop being a baby. I jumped into the water, grabbed my son and we promptly left. We never been back for lessons.

    Mean people suck!

  31. Makes you wonder why they invented Floaties......


  32. Glad the regular teacher was back. It would be too bad if Tommy wanted to quit because of a mean teacher.

  33. People like that shouldn't be teaching children. I'm glad your real teacher returned. :)

  34. Glad the "real" teacher is back.

    Swimming lessons are quite an adventure aren't they?

  35. So going up to strangers and asking if they want to see my scabs is bad?! So that's what I've been doing wrong... LOL

  36. Love your little "speech" you had planned.

    I too seem to have one of those signs over my head. Mine says "Yes, please tell me your life story as if I truly care if you are an obese, unemployed slob with no friends."

  37. Don't you hate to waste a good speech? I know I do...

    I'm laughing out loud, though. Thanks for the great post! I was totally that little girl (might still be, as a matter of fact).

  38. i just heard a great speech today about how learning to lose well is something we never teach our kids. stuck with me..

    weirdo kids are attracted to me too. we should never go to a mall playground together..


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