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Swimming Lessons!

July 21, 2010

giant flat planet of swimming

Henry is taking “swimming lessons!” And they only last 3 weeks, so I’d better blog about it fast.

With so many kiddo activities costing $25 per hour, I’m pleased and proud that he’s taking free city-sponsored lessons in Brooklyn’s Red Hook pool.

My sister and I grew up taking lessons at town pools. And now I still go to pools run by the town, except that now, the town is the city.

For those readers who don’t live in New York, I wish you could experience pool culture here for a moment.

I’ll try to describe:

You go to a pool. It is a production, because it is probably not directly down the street, and because you have to lock everything up using a lock, and there are rules like “if you are going to wear a tee-shirt onto the pool deck or into the water, it must be a white one” and “don’t wear a hat!” but as in most pool visits, it is worth it!

Instead of it being a complex with a baby pool and a medium pool and a sort of big one, like a 25 foot long pool, or a 25 yard pool, or a pool that looks really really long because it is actually Olympic Size — imagine that — instead, you go to a pool that is Olympic length (LONG), but that is, in actuality, the width. Though it seems like the length, since the lane lines are painted down that way. But don’t get dizzy, only a small portion of the pool is designated for lap swimming. The Olympic sized pool within the pool isn’t even visible from this picture, in other words.

As for the other dimension of the pool, should you think of it as the length or the width, it simply incalculable. I don’t know how to calculate it and I tried to look it up but have lost interest in the actual dimensions. It’s much more fun to tell you about the sign that says “No more than 1132 people in the pool at one time.”

No — that is really what the sign says, and I will try to get the photo evidence. In the meantime, please focus on the other photo. Those big silvery space alien things have signs on them that say “don’t climb.” I assume that this is because they are so dangerously big!

You know when you are looking at the Crate and Barrel catalog and you’d be wondering how big a particular bowl is but then you don’t have to wonder, because someone has aptly placed a lime or a bunch of grapes into the bowl so that you get a sense of size? Well, this picture has a million limes in it, but you just can’t see them, because the pool is SO BIG. No, really, I wish this one included a watermelon, or better yet, a tractor trailer truck, so that you could see the scale. Just trust me: it’s big.

It’s like a giant flat planet of swimming.

The lessons, by the way, are excellent. While other children express trepidation about entering the pool, Henry nearly wrenches my arm off to get in fast.

As for the curriculum, we are just led through a series of songs and different patterns of walking around in the water by a man who seems somewhat overwhelmed, as evidenced by his not knowing the words to Fuzzy Wuzzy, Three Little Fishies, and Twinkle Twinkle. (He does know a heck of a lot of verses to London Bridge, to his credit.) Mostly I just carry him around — that’s Henry, not the instructor — while we sing. And it’s pretty much what he’d like to do all day every day: songs and playing in the water. Another parent scolded me for using the “wrong hold” yesterday, which I thought was pretty hilarious. After I was done being defensive and wanting to shove her face into the water. (“Here! Let me show you another ‘hold.'”)

Tomorrow the session ends but I think we can sign up for another session starting next week.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    July 21, 2010 1:56 pm

    Meredith, I love your blog so much I want to start a ChurchChompFanClub, okay?

    • July 21, 2010 2:18 pm

      that’s the nicest nicest! please let me know about the details. will there be snacks? or hats with ears?

  2. Michelle permalink
    July 21, 2010 2:49 pm

    I’m joining that club. I’ll bring snacks!

  3. sonia permalink
    July 21, 2010 7:16 pm

    I grew up in Williamsburg and during the hot balmy summers in the southside we would walk to the McCarren Park Pool for a swim. We were fortunate to have two pools in the hood. Metropolitan was great on a rainy day bc it was indoors. I love community pools! McCarren Park pool is slated to open soon again and Metropolitan pool is still kicking it – I hear. Red Hook is awsome and so is the pool at Sunset Park. Hurray, for city pools! What a godsend for kids who cannot get out of the city!

  4. Karen permalink
    July 22, 2010 2:39 pm

    Hi- I am a new, huge fan & also neighbor, in Ditmas…. will join the club, let me know when/where how.

    I will also take my daughter, Mia, to the pool as it looks awesome, but first she has to stop climbing up me like a monkey when she is asked to stick a body part in water that is not perfectly warm. As in, higher than room temp.

    Even when it is a squillion degrees and she has horrible diaper rash, she will not sit down in a bath that is too cool.

    Maybe after she turns two she will magically learn to love cool water….

  5. July 25, 2010 4:06 pm

    India is taking lessons at our town pool, and I’m very happy because she actually goes in the water this year. Last year, I paid for lessons so she could sit at the edge of the pool and dip her little toes in…

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