fish school

Cort and I have said from the start of parenthood that we wanted to encourage our kids to participate in activities that they want to try.  Cort was a very active, athletic kid.  He played different sports until middle/high school when he focused on soccer.  I was the least athletic kid on the planet.  My parents had to drag me kicking and screaming to t-ball.

Cort ran around with friends and siblings for fun.  I ran if I was chased.

Cortney enjoyed riding his bike to town with friends to get baseball cards.  I steered my bike straight into the ditch because I hated it.

So far Eddie is more like his dad (thank goodness) in that he loves to be active.  He loves to play anything outside that requires physical activity and he loves to be included.

Eddie is very competitive, especially with himself.  If he believes he could have done better, he gets angry.  And unlike his mom who would have given up out of sheer embarrassment when she didn’t get it the first time, Eddie tackles challenges until he can conquer them.

He’s a bit timid, but once he learns there is nothing to be afraid of, he will definitely try.

So while Eddie is begging us to enroll him in ALL OF THE THINGS, one thing we insisted on was swimming lessons.

Eddie is all the way on the left.

Eddie is all the way on the left.

We live in West Michigan only a very short drive from Lake Michigan.  Cortney’s mom and step-dad have a pool.  My dad has a boat.  We have friends with a boat. We spend ample amount of time near water all summer long.  Swimming lessons are just not optional.

My mom made my brothers and me take them. I was terrible.  I still am terrible.  I can tread water for days, but I hate putting my face under water and I never mastered the art of blowing out of my nose.  Oh, and I can’t dive.  Never learned.  Never wanted to.

Cortney’s mom made them take swimming lessons as well.  He and his siblings grew up on boats, and it was part of the deal that you could not be on the docks without your life jacket unless you passed a certain level of swimming lesson.  Cort is an awesome swimmer as far as your average swimmer goes.

Eddie practices kicking and "scooping" on the noodle.

Eddie practices kicking and “scooping” on the noodle.

Eddie has always loved the water, but last year he really came out of his shell.  He stopped needing to cling to us in the pool or lake and started to venture out (with his life jacket on) on his own.  He even jumped from the dock while we were on vacation and off the side of the pool to Cort at Cort’s mom’s house!

We decided that this spring was the year to start lessons.  Eddie is almost four, potty-trained, and in love with the water.  Why wait?

coming back!

coming back!

We signed him up for the fish school (he he) preschool swimming lessons.  And he did really great!

Cort brought him each week (Saturday mornings for 30 minutes) to have a lesson with Miss Abbie and three other kids.  He got lots of personal attention and was not scared at all.

Each week Cort took him to the donut shop after as a reward.  Eddie would come home and tell me how he learned to “scoop the ice cream” and paddle like a penguin.

He really loved it.

Well, most of it.

keep the face up...UP!

keep the face up…UP!

He hated putting his face in the water, and he didn’t master the art of blowing bubbles with his nose.

And thus, he needs to repeat this level again next year.  Other than that? He got high marks in EVERYTHING.

2013-05-18 11.36.19

His first report card!

Every single other skill was marked as completed.  So this summer, Cortney will work with him on putting his whole face in the water and blowing bubbles with his nose.

Because I still can’t do that skill either.

Next up for the summer? Two weeks of gymnastics for an hour a day.  And that is it for the summer.  We decided two activities (one chosen by us and one by him) was enough since we have lots of other family fun planned too. Even though he wanted to do soccer too.

I love that Eddie is excited and wants to do ALL THE THINGS, but how many is “enough”?

And really, sometimes I feel like maybe three is too young, but other times I feel like people are starting their kids out of the womb!  What do you think?

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. We generally try to keep it to 1 or 2 activities too. I figure that with school & friends, we don’t want her to overdo it. Darling Girl LOVES gymnastics. She has learned so much from it too. She has learned a lot about waiting her turn, coordinating her body to do the tricks, and following directions. She’s already begging to sign up again. I think it will be her activity for awhile! Next up is swim lessons.

    Also, I love those photos of Eddie! He’s so cute working so hard!

  2. I love his little face, holding his chin up, out of the water!

    I don’t remember how any of us learned to swim, but it was unspoken. We had to know how to. My oldest has loved the water since he was a teeny one, I hope he’ll take lessons real soon. The baby? So NOT impressed with the baby pool though he loves water play.

    Yay Eddie!

  3. I am one of 4 girls and the only one who can swim. My mom could not swim and my father never learned till entering the Navy and swimming was a must. I love the water always have. Luckily we had a family friend who taught me all I needed to swim and save myself if an emergency should occur. My boys are all swimmers. I insisted. Eddie will get to the face in water thing. I can remember being much older and worrying that I would forget to blow out and inhale a snoot full of water.. he is bright and will get it momma

  4. Congratulations, to Eddie!!!

    Our oldest plays one Spring (softball that goes until September) and one Winter (Basketball Nov. – March) sport. He also is a member of his school’s Chess Club. Now that our youngest is of sport playing age. He will play Football in the Fall and most likely track on his school team. The oldest plays Special Olympics which means lots of traveling and the youngest unless we sign him up for a traveling team (not likely), his games will be closer to home.

  5. I took swimming lessons from 18 months to 15 years. I grew up on a lake and after the basic skills were learned it was more of an individual sport that I enjoyed. I only quit lap swimming when I couldn’t master/nor wanted to the wall flip ha. I’ve debated swim lessons with my daughter who turns 2 this weekend and I think after this summer we will do it, if not even later this summer. We have a pool and both of her grandparents live on lakes. My dad doesn’t know how to swim and I think it’s stupid to live on a lake/use the lake and not know how. Stupid and dangerous.

  6. We put Belle in swimming as soon as possible. While we don’t have a pool and not many family has pools we do spend time in the pool a few times in the summer and on vacation. We did not want her afraid of the water. She did really well and has taken 3 sessions so far. We did gymnastics for one year along with the swimming and would have kept her in but weren’t happy with the place we were at. She is in dance right now and will do it again next year. We are taking the summer off from activities as dance was the whole school year and we will have a newborn. I think one or two activities at this age is just fine. It gets them use to doing activities.

  7. Embarrassing as it is to admit, I still can’t swim. I am afraid of the water, plain and simple. I took lessons as a kid too. My mother should demand a refund 30+ years later. I never mastered putting my face in the water (although I can submerge going straight down, I can’t just stand in water and put my face into it.) I also can’t hold my breath for long periods probably because I’ve never been trapped in a box. Seriously, how does one learn that? Practice? Box makes more sense. As I type this, though, I’m waiting for registration to open up next week for adult swim classes. I tried last year but that lady was crazy; she wanted me to fully submerge and open my eyes on day one. I withdrew because she came to work high on crack.

    I’m glad Eddie did well. He’ll get even better.

  8. The girls usually do one or two activities but they’re older and can handle the extra work. But Andrew (3) well, he can’t seem to handle one activity on top of school (daycare). We tried tumbling and that was the biggest fail ever…. the kid just wanted to run around and play. So I thought that he’d like soccer :::sigh::: he doesn’t want to do that unless I’m out there with him the entire time. The sad thing is that he is pretty good at soccer!

  9. All my kids are fish. Love the water and are very excited about their swimming lessons starting as soon as school gets out.

  10. We have done 1-2 things at a time until this point. I question how much is enough/too much, too, because my kids like to be doing things. Scheduled things. Sigh.

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