Like many kids, Dane had tubes in his ears for almost two years.  Of course I knew that tubes-in-ears = no water-in-ears.  What I didn’t realize, what I didn’t understand, is that two years of no ears-in-water would also = fear-of-the-water.

I blame myself.  I blame my frantic yelling and constant cautioning:

“Dane! Keep your ears dry!” I blame me for creating a fear-of-the-water.  However, it never makes sense to dwell on blame.  It makes sense to move forward and fix it.  Especially when mandatory school swimming starts in September.

In Germany, like in Holland, there is mandatory school swimming and levels of certification.  Here in Germany the first level is Seepferdchen (or seahorse).  Swimmers must be able to:

  • Jump from the pool edge and swim 25 meters
  • Pull up an object (like a swim ring) from shoulder-deep water

Up until Saturday I considered it a big triumph if Dane would leave the pool steps wearing his floaty (by the way, I highly recommend the Stearn Kids Puddle Jumper floaties).  But if I tried to get him deeper, or I tried to hold him, he would panic.

I started to panic knowing that Dane would soon be in swim lessons with his class, and the only one safely ensconced in a big floaty… on the steps. I sent out an urgent message to all our Stuttgart Friends: “Help!”

I got an immediate response from one of Dave’s soldiers, and this past Saturday was our first swim lesson.  I have no idea what Mr. Nate did, I happily swum laps in the big pool with his wife, but after 2 hours Dane was not only floaty-free but swimming! Not Michael Phelps swimming, but most definitely face-in-the-water, feet-off-the-bottom, not-drowning, SWIMMING!

I think Dane will get his Seepferdchen even before September starts. I can’t wait to sew it on his swimsuit.  I know he can’t wait to show it off.