Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Swimming Pool

Every Tuesday I watch my youngest's swimming class which goes on in the pool belonging to the local hotel. I am systematically amazed at how naughty the other boys are and how little their mothers seem to care that their little darlings are right buggers.

I have to stay and watch because it's a waste of time my going home and coming back again, plus the fact that my youngest loves me to sit and watch. Two classes go on at the same time, and it seems to be a feature of swimming lessons here that the better group (non-beginners) get shrieked at from time to time, or regularly depending on how well they are doing.

The other trainer is a young woman who has the lungs of a fishwife and a voice that can pierce plate glass at 100m. My youngest has an older man, but when he has taken the better group, he has yelled at them as much as the woman and can probably be heard on the coast 25km away.

So, up and down the pool they pound, with their coloured frites (long sponge sausages). One child, Yann who must be about 6 does not seem to have worked out in his mind how to kick in the water. It's amazing to watch. He is trying to work his way from one end of the pool to the other using a short sausage. Instead of kicking and holding his head under water pushing the frite along as instructed, he tries to use it as a means of locomotion by bringing it to him and then pushing it out again. No kicking.

I'm waiting for the 'click' to happen because until it does, he's going to continue to drive the poor instructor insane, and hoarse with shouting 'remoue tes pieds!'

After the lesson is finished, at 6.30pm, the boys are collected by a parent, have a shower and go home. Some, in fact, several, parents bring pyjamas to the place so their kids are immediately ready for dinner and bed. I find this very strange, and were I a child, would absolutely hate to be put into my night clothes whilst in a public place. What an insult! I would never dream of doing such an infantile thing to my son. He gets back into his clothes and goes home properly dressed.

Maybe I'm the weird one here, I don't know. I just try to put myself in my youngest's position and accept that putting him in his pjs too early would turn him into a big baby. In my defense, he is the best-behaved child in the lesson, and the one who tries the hardest at swimming (and succeeds!).

Moral: respect your child's dignity.


  1. My daughter had swimming at school today too (she's fourteen). She managed to skive off last week as she had no swimming costume...she hadn't mentioned it to me, of course. So yesterday afternoon I had to rush out and buy one and today she skulked along to the pool with the rest of the class, moaning about her mascara running...and of course, we've had to listen all evening to her whining about how the chlorine has just ruined her hair...

    How strange that the mothers put their children into pyjamas! You're quite right...it's humiliating for the poor mites.

    Your little boy sounds so sweet - I'm sure he will be whizzing up and down that pool in no time :-)

  2. Ah, you're with me on this one, Gigi! It's not just me then. My youngest is an absolute sweetie, yes which is not to say he isn't a total pickle. But he does it with charm! Putty, I am.


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