This morning, I was treated to Three Year Old Swimming Lesson Duty.
Grumpy usually performs this role. He’s very good at it. Way more efficient at extracting local gossip from the other mothers there than I am.
We arrive a little later than normal, but not late. I hate sitting around the pool whilst Chippie plays, getting to the point of him being inextricably ensconced in his play then having to ask him to stop and get into his lesson. I like to have time to casually get him changed then allow him to participate in his lesson.
He chatted amicably on the way. Then, just as we were parking the car, I made the fundamental mistake of parking in The Wrong Spot.
Unfortunately, I have no idea which spots are wrong or right. You see, last time, there were no spots like where I parked today, and I parked the other side of the street. That was also The Wrong Spot, and Chippie informed me (and the rest of the neighbourhood) that I should have parked elsewhere. Back then, he pointed to the very location in which I had parked this morning, so I stupidly thought I was on a winner.
So … as it was, it was The Wrong Spot. Also, by this stage I had Stopped Giving A Fuck. We walked in whilst he screamed at me about the car. It didn’t last long. I think he’s getting used to my not bowing to his ridiculous tantrums.
Sadly, that also didn’t last long. He refused to participate because … well, for no reason I could fathom, other than it was me and he doesn’t often get the opportunity to fuck with my head whilst at swimming. I gave him the option; Get In and Participate or Sit And Watch.
He screamed at me.
He got louder when both the teacher and I carried on as though nothing were happening. But he stayed where he was.
Another teacher, whose students had neglected to show, took him off for a swim. She pretty much gave into his tantrum as much as the rest of us did, saying “Awesome kicking” as he thrashed about in the pool. He escaped and ran to me. It was that moment of being torn; he did actually want to do his lesson, but he’d figured if he cooperated and joined in, then he’d ‘lost’. Not that it was a battle of any sort, in my opinion.
And if he continued, then he’d miss out.
Oh, the dilemma.
So he stood and screamed some more, as I calmly explained he could choose which teacher he’d like to swim with, or sit on the side and watch.
He chose to sit. He sat and watched. He glared at me occasionally, just to let me know how pissed off he was.
I smiled at him and pondered that I’d paid $15 for a lesson where he, hopefully, learnt that I am not going to give into stupid tantrums, that he’s not going to get away with carrying on like that, nor is he going to get his way whilst screaming and yelling at me. That asking politely or speaking nicely might work, and that I don’t ‘do’ this kind of shit. That I spent $15 on a swimming lesson where he didn’t actually do any swimming.
Oh, wait … it’s two minutes to go and he’s decided to join in. He’s smiling and happy and cooperative and participating.
I know exactly what’s coming up next … and I brace myself for it.
Lesson over. He tries to walk past me to jump in the small pool. I gently grab his arm and wrap him in a towel.
He screams at me.
He wants to go in the small pool. With his friends.
It ain’t gonna happen. Not after the carry on.
I give him an option … he can ask his teacher if he can join in the class just starting and make up for it, or he can come home ….
He glares at me and starts to scream ….
Meanwhile, a woman with a death wish has dumped all her shit on the seat I had just vacated in order to prevent Chippie from escaping again.
She glances up from her iPhone for all of 0.3 of a second. Not long enough for her to catch just how pissed off I am.
Chippie continues to inform me, and the rest of the neighbourhood as we leave the building and head to the car (thankfully located just outside the centre doors! The Wrong Spot my arse!) that he wants to go swimming.
Of course he does.