One of the things that Patrick said... well, OK, he implied or maybe I just inferred... is that he dislikes swim crew because the coaching is general rather than specific. They all do the butterfly and then they are all told that they need to reaaaaach and get. themselves. up. out of the water. Since Patrick takes criticism the way I take peppermint patties (get it? he internalizes? ha ha ha) I thought maybe the lack of individual whatsit for individual performance was depressing him.
Or maybe laps are just really boring.
Anyway, I could do something, maybe, with my first theory so I went with it. I asked Patrick if he would like to swim with the teacher he had before since Patrick had loved him (in a very Patrick, yeah, he's ok, good teacher, kind of way.) Actually when I say he loved him - it took a while. I will never forget the look on Patrick's face when he climbed out of the pool the first time and the guy said, "Yeah, you really need to work on your breaststroke."
Like most modern children Patrick is used to getting a trophy just for showing up so the idea that someone would mention his weaknesses right off the bat like that... well he never.
[I have a friend whose son played, I dunno, basketball or something at the elementary aged community ed level. They competed against other teams and ultimately the ones with the best records went on to a final tournament. Like all devoted parents who are sick to death of driving and sitting around a gym/pool/rink/arena on weekends, she was relieved when her son's team failed to qualify. She was then startled to learn that they were expected to go to a different tournament. A tournament for the so-called Celebration bracket.
My friend was, like, wait, you mean the losers' bracket, right? Because it is comprised of all of the teams that did not win? The ones who - in point of fact - lost?
Fortunately, someone threw a Merona jacket over her head and bundled her into the back of a minvan before any of the children could hear her heretical ramblings about how the opposite of winner is not everyone's a winner.]
So it took a bit for Patrick to warm up to someone who only told him "good job" when he thought he had actually done a good job but once he adjusted he liked it. More importantly Patrick said that this guy was really good at explaining what he needed to do differently with his body in order to swim faster and he (Patrick) made measurable progress. So I made inquiries into whether he might be willing to give Patrick some private instruction and I asked Patrick if swimming for this guy again once a week would make the swim crew more palatable and Patrick said yes, yes it would.
The idea is to give the new arrangement a month and if Patrick is still bored by swimming he'll stop after Christmas. Last night I got a time that would work for this guy and checked with Patrick again before committing.
I said, "So C has time to coach you on Sundays at 3. Does that sound ok to you?"
Patrick said, "Yeah that sounds great."
And I said, to be fair, "Bear in mind it might make Sunday crowded when you start skiiing again."
Patrick scrunched his face up and said slowly, "Huh. It will cut into my playdate time... but that's ok! I have been thinking that I have been spending too much time with friends as it is. I don't need bonding. I don't need age-appropriate social interaction or the esteem of my peers. In fact, you know what, you can just send me to private school; I'll be fine with it!"
Since this was not an actual hysterical outburst, just Patrick experimenting with one way he might react under the circumstances in a dramatic interpretation; I said mildly that I was sure he would still have plenty of time to see his friends and he said he supposed so and that was that.
Later that night when I went to tuck him in, though, I had to ask, "Patrick when you said that about private school... you know that private schools are just schools that are not funded with public money. They aren't actual private schools, like for one individual kid, right?"
Patrick said, "Ohhhh. I did not know that."
I asked, "So when I told you that your aunt and uncle are looking at private schools for your cousin next year... ?"
"I pictured all of these empty classrooms with teachers standing around with nothing to do because he would be with someone else at the time."
I am still laughing.