In the swim - or not...

>> Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I just put together a post for Tara's Gallery this week only to realise, just as I was about to hit publish, that she's had the temerity to take the week off (what, is it half term or something?), so have shelved that post and instead put before you this Mummy dilemma.

Boy #2 has had a nasty cough for the last 3 days. He has no temperature, no runny nose (yet, at any rate), and is perfectly well other than the frankly awful noise he keeps making. So he's ill, but not really ill enough to keep home from school (especially since two thirds of his class are making the same noise). Consequently, I've been sending him in for the last couple of days. I'm not asking for ratification on that; I know my child well enough and he's more than capable of a school day in this state of health. And for those worried about the other children in his class, well I'm afraid the damage was done last week by whichever child brought the virus in with them then...

No, what I'm asking is whether I should have allowed him to join his class swimming lesson today. Generally the rule is; if they're not well enough to swim, then don't bring the child in to school. If they can't swim, they get to sit on a bench with the Teaching Assistant either reading or watching the other kids in the pool; they don't get the chance to stay in the classroom as they would be unsupervised.

I knew this, but still decided this morning that I would not take Boy #2's swimming kit in with us. Whilst he's generally fine, and certainly not ill enough to stay home and miss a day, he does have this cough and it seemed foolish to me to push our luck any further. I mean, we've managed nearly 2 years here without having to visit a doctor, and I'd like to keep it that way if at all possible. Consequently, I spoke to his teacher and the TA when I dropped him off this morning, and offered to go in and sit and read with him by the pool during the lesson.

My children go to an unusual school. Parents are allowed anywhere on the premises at pretty much any time, because we give so much support to the teachers. In fact, the parents' help is actively sought in getting children ready both before and after their swimming lessons (and the amount of time spent drying and styling the little girls' hair by Russian mums panicking about the slight possibility their child might leave the pool area with one wet strand of hair verges on the ridiculous - but that's a subject for another post...). But when I offered to come down and sit with my coughing five year old on the benches by the edge of the pool, thus freeing up the TA to look after what I knew would be at least 4 other children also not swimming for the same reason, I was told no thank-you.

Boy #2 - according to the TA - would have to sit watching the other children swim for 45 minutes. No books or colouring allowed.

This seems to me to be inflexible, unnecessary and also, frankly, to be making a rod for her own back since she's the one who's going to have to deal with probably 4 or 5 bored five year olds. I imagine that this is aimed entirely at making me feel guilty for not following the party line and sending him swimming whatever. And the frustrating thing is that it's not as if we are on record as a hypochondriac family; last school year Boy #2 had only one day off sick, for heaven's sake.

However, I stuck to my guns and for all I know the intransigent TA stuck to hers and made Boy #2 sit without anything to do for 45 minutes.

But what should I have done? Kept him home all day for the sake of avoiding a 45 minute swimming lesson, or sent him in and dealt with the consequences of his being in the water?

What would you have done?


Hot Cross Mum 19 October 2011 at 09:26  

That all sounds rather ludicrous. If it was either of my boys I would inevitably have ended up sitting on the sidelines doing an endless quiz about dinosaurs. Yes - that *is* my life.

Muddling Along 19 October 2011 at 10:28  

I am not keen on mine swimming when under the weather - they seem to pick up something every time they get in the pool so if they already unwell it just means a few miserable days and we don't need that

But not let them read or do something during the lesson when you offered to help? That strikes me as nuts and really very intransigent

Jo Beaufoix 19 October 2011 at 13:05  

That sounds mad lovely, and I would have done just what you did and hoped that they saw sense. He doesn't sound well enough to swim, but he does sound well enough for school.

I think it might be a lesson for them today as there may be a few more of them not swimming with the lergy being so prevalent amongst his friends. I hope Ms or Mr TA ends up with a huowge gang of kids hacking their lungs out at her as they watch the one healthy child being run through his paces.

Hope he gets well soon though.


nappy valley girl 19 October 2011 at 16:39  

How annoying.
I agree, they can be well enough for school, but still not go swimming. I've sent both of mine off to school with the sniffles this morning, because they are definitely not 'ill' enough to be at home and would be rampaging around the house if they were here.

Potty Mummy 20 October 2011 at 18:52  

So, an update to all those of you kind enough to leave comments; I actually got an apology from the teacher when I collected Boy #2 from school yesterday. Just about stopped myself from saying 'too bloody right'...

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