June 07, 2008

Just Keep Swimming...

I feel like I’m outside looking in at times… if I were, I’d surely say to the person next to me, “Did he just say that?” or “Did that really just happen?”


Ringo and Mr. T are in Scouting, Boy Scouts to be exact. I have held in my heart firmly what The Confabulator said, about how Scouting was such a positive constant in his life. That is what I want for my boys and so far, I am seeing it already.

Their very first Boy Scout camp is in three weeks, a local Scout camp, sleep away for a week. We will be cutting it short to go on our ‘annual Southern Tour’, and I am sleeping over one night as our Troop needs two parents each night to sleep over and I volunteered for one, so it is essentially ‘almost a week sleepaway with Mom being there one night’ Boy Scout camp.

Hey, I was thinking of y’all. I’m all about life experiences and blog fodder. Doing a night at Boy Scout sleep away camp should provide both.

Anyway, the boys will be earning Merit Badges and one of the first is for swimming. I took two of the boys swimming today with Mr. T saying to me, “Mom, you have to teach me how to float… I can’t float.”

Now some of you may be saying, “Oh come on. Everyone floats”, but I knew this to be true because TGOO could never float and my husband doesn’t float. He who has no body fat does not float.

And for the record, I float AMAZINGLY well. I float so well, I hardly touch the water… I’m right there on the surface.

So I decided today to teach Mr. T how to ‘scull’. He needs to learn how to keep his body above water. Meanwhile, Bones declared exuberantly to us, “I CAN FLOAT! I CAN FLOAT! I CAN! I CAN! Mr. T doesn’t float? Wow. I’m a GREAT floater. I can float!”

Now, folks, if Mr. T is 3% body fat, then Bones is 1%. That leads us to the deduction that if Mr. T can’t float… than neither can his boney fat free brother. Y’all saw his birthday picture on the beach. He looks FAT in that picture. Clothes add weight to his impish waiflike body.

And he can float?


We got to the pool and I got Mr. T in the water and I said, “OK, show me how bad it is” and he got on his back, stretched out his arms… and his toes sunk, then his spindly legs, then his hips, all dragging down his chest and head following. He looked like a slow sinking torpedo.

We worked on sculling and will work on his strokes and treading water for the next three weeks. He must feel comfortable. He must relax.

And then I looked at Bones. Bones who was standing at the side of the pool laughing, bouncing from foot to foot. The sheer excitement of his being able to float and his brother struggling, was more than he could take.

“Show me how you float, Bones” and he hippity skipped in, as he does everything, big energy and flailing, got on his back and…

… sunk like damn rock.

His entire horizontal body sunk immediately 3 inches and then his toes quickly fell to the floor of the pool with his body quickly following after, until his body was completely parallel to the y-axis... arms outstretched along the X.

There was no slow torpedo-like dive here. It was quick. Blink of an eye quick.

He quickly pulled himself so his head was out of the water and he said, “SEE?!”

It would appear, that floating to him meant that you are not lying at the bottom of the pool.

Mr. T said, “Bones! You can’t float! You have to be ON TOP OF THE WATER to float!”

Bones said, “I do?”

Mr. T replied, “You sunk faster than I did!”

And so I have ‘boys that don’t float’ and for some reason, I think that should be the title of a rock group or a song. It just has a ring to it for some reason.

Now you know what I’ll be doing the next three weeks… after I review the requirements for the swimming badge. We cannot possibly be the only family that has to study for the Boy Scout swimming badge.

Cannot possibly be…

Update: When looking through their manual they had pictures of the two ways people float. The first picture was like me... parallel to the bottom of the pool. The second way was 'similar' my boys... head above water and everything else perpendicular to the bottom. Similar in the fact that the head stays closest to the surface. Not similar in... theirs likes to be about 3 inches below.

This should be interesting...

Posted by Boudicca at June 7, 2008 09:22 PM | TrackBack

AAaaahhhhh, it's stuff like this that makes me think I should look into being a swim instructor for kids at the YMCA or something.
Right now it's only the fear of the general public seeing me in a bathing suit that puts the breaks on that one.

Posted by: Barmy Mama at June 7, 2008 10:42 PM

Our kids don't float either, and neither did I when I was a kid. That's probably why I hate water. That and the fact that I'm blind as a bat so I can't see when I don't have my lenses in. Of course now, I'd probably float like a beach ball!

Our daughter is a good swimmer, in spite of high density, and has her lifeguard certification. Our oldest son ALWAYS wins the "swimming across the bottom of the pool and back" competition at swimming lessons. He sinks rapidly and requires little oxygen, I guess. I find it very unnerving to watch him move stealthily along the bottom of the pool. He would do well as a pearl diver! He swims well, but it is work for him.

The other two make me nervous around water. They are learning to swim, but I still don't trust their ability to stay out of trouble. The only swimming experience they have is at the pool. And I read an article about a ten-year-old who died of "dry drowning". I had never heard of this before. I can't imagine how awful his poor mother must feel! I'm not including this to freak anyone out - just to alert you if you also had never heard of it, so you can recognize it if you need to.

Our local YMCA offers open water swim classes that I would like to enroll the kids in, but with the cost of gas right now I don't think we'll be making the daily trip to town this summer.

Posted by: PeggyU at June 7, 2008 11:06 PM

this sounds like a job for...Super White Guy! (commonly known as Eric)

Posted by: Jay- the friendly neighborhood piper at June 7, 2008 11:34 PM

Well, it ain't fat that makes ya float! I got an abundance of the stuff, and I sink so fast, I leave a hole in the water!



Posted by: Walrilla at June 8, 2008 03:16 AM

Sending you an email...

Posted by: vw bug at June 8, 2008 06:17 AM

Barmy Mama- Ahhh, well I have a solution to that. First, I got my WSI 24 years ago. That's a problem, trying to remember everything I learned. I am an EXCELLENT swimmer. But, I don't want to be in public in a bathing suit. Today, I'm going to the dive shop and getting board shorts, a bikini top and a rash board shirt. I have to have something under the rash board shirt or it'll look like a wet tshirt contest. Blech. So that's the solution to that. Second, you should seriously think about doing that. I know from your blog what an excellent swimmer you are, plus you were a Marine. You need to do this if you think you can be a help.

I'm also doing the board shorts and rash board so i can swim without being self conscious. I'm too old to put this much continuous pounding on my knees... I need to swim for cardio.

Jay- Heh, funny you should say that. When i was at the pool, I met this man who was in incredible shape, swimming in the swim lane. I started a conversation with him because he just did NOT look like he floated naturally. He is built like my Dad. This guy is 71 and looks 60. So I asked him too if he had suggestions and he did. He said not only did not not float when he was my boys' age, he still doesn't and when he does triathlons, he has to seriously work for every stroke above water where was some people are right above the surface.

Anyway, that got me to thinking... and I realized our dear buddy who was a scrawny Marine probably didn't float either, so I popped SWG Eric an email and said, "Help! What did they do in the Marines for folks who don't float?" and he gave me a run down.

The common thing that Eric and the gentleman in the pool gave me was... they must relax. So that's what I'll be working on... relaxing while I get them to float.

Posted by: Bou at June 8, 2008 08:52 AM

WSI only 24 years ago? Mine was 38. Imagine me mining my memory for technique... *heh*

One thing I do recall vividly is that I was a bones & rawhide kid when I was doing my lifesaving and WSI courses. But floating for me was probably due more to lung capacity (air is even more bouyant than fat, you know :-)) than anything else. Well, that and feeling as though I was out of my element when I wasn't in wate... *g* Comfortable with water, for sure.

Thinking back, as a kid I didn't learn to float until long after I learned to swim. Hmmm, that's backwards to how most beginning courses try to teach, as I recall (luckily, I didn't have swimming lessons as a kid; sure, I had more bad habits to unlearn later, but I also had a frog's comfort with water learned from just doin' it). More than likely, the more they are actually swimming, the more likely they are to come up with techniques that let 'em "float" (as well as bags of bone and viscera and muscle w/o any fat can). Heck, even if all they can do "dead man's float" that's certainly one good survival flotation technique. Deep breath, relax and float a few inches under, up for another deep breath, repeat... Restful, and in warm water good for recovery from a long swim preparatory for continuing the swim. Must remember not to doze off, though. *LOL*

Posted by: David at June 8, 2008 06:23 PM

People don't float? I had no idea...

When I was little- my mother put my brother and I in swim lessons....the instructor would put me in the middle of the pool and let go....I sank and cried, sank and cried.
Dearest brother (whom I do not EVER remember getting along with) always had to swim out to get me as the instructor made him.
It got to the point where the instructor said sink or swim....and I swam- only upon realizing no one was coming out to get me.

Now that I am older, and I myself taught kids how to swim, there's one thing I do to float- I keep half the air in my lungs. Wierd, I know. But it works for me.

Posted by: rave at June 8, 2008 08:53 PM

rave - That's one of the tricks to floating. Think of your lungs as air bladders (which is what they are). That's also one of the ways to control buoyancy when SCUBA diving. breath in = rise. Breath out = sink.

Posted by: Denny at June 9, 2008 11:51 AM

Isn't that how fish do it?

Posted by: PeggyU at June 9, 2008 12:10 PM

Never been able to float. Didn't hurt me none.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at June 9, 2008 05:54 PM