June 2, 2010

Sometimes I actually get it right

Our daughter is on swim team. I use the term "swim team" loosely as my daughter doesn't know how to swim. At this level it is basically swim lessons.

Our pool has two kiddie pools and one big pool. Totally my fault but because our little guy has to stay in the kiddie pool our daughter spends her time there as well. Because of this her swimming skills are not what they should be.

Yesterday was her first "lesson" and there were about 15 kids in the class. The kids started in the big pool holding onto the side with one hand and holding onto the kick board with the other. They numbered the kids into 1's, 2's, 3's and 4's. E was a 1.

They asked each group to use their kick boards and kick to the other side of the pool.

1's took off. E stayed.
2's took off. E stayed.
3's took off. E stayed.
4's took off. E stayed.

She was the only child left.

I'm a rule follower. Always have been and so I was a bit taken aback that E had not done what was asked of her.

I went up to one of the coaches and said "She is a 1 but she didn't go." He said, "oh this is just for fun, it's okay."

I think he thought I was a bystander tattling on her. I went on to tell him that I am her mother and I think she needs some extra help as she is scared. I walked away feeling like a despicable stage mom.

A couple of coaches went to her and helped her across. I could see her fear begin to turn into a smile. By the end of the lesson, the coaches had convinced her to actually let go of the side and swim to them a few feet away. Stage mom was on the sideline in tears.

I was so proud of her for taking that leap of faith. She struggled a bit and I had to resist the urge to plunge into the pool fully clothed and swim her to safety. She went under water for a second and came up coughing and crying - but she did it! The coach held her and calmed her - but who was there to calm me? Thank God big sunglasses are fashionable.

At times I get so frustrated with her because I know she can do so much more than she is willing to try. She is a cautious child and even though I was a rule follower, I was willing to try everything. Although she was literally the only child in the group that could not swim, I was beaming with pride when she kicked her little legs and held herself up unassisted for about 3.6 seconds.

I cheered and hugged her and made a huge deal about how she swam.

Her response? "No I didn't, I sank."

I pointed out that before she sank, she did swim and we now know that she can do it.

Although she walked away from that lesson never wanting to swim again I was able to turn it around and make her proud of what she accomplished. She is actually looking forward to her next lesson tomorrow and so am I. Even if she is behind her peer group she is working harder and trying harder than any of them. For that she is my little hero.

Most of the time I totally screw things up and give my children oodles of ammunition for the therapists they will inevitably have but this time I think I really got it right.


  1. Aw! You are great!

    Oh I'm a stage mom with massive helicopter skills! I was scared to try anything when I was little and it gets under my skin when B acts that way (when I know he is brave and can do so much more than he tries). I'm also a very strict mom so the other moms glare at me with a horific look. Someday he'll be a team player and confident. You know, when he's not laying on the therapists' couch!

    I'm with you! And hey, at least you didn't push her in and say "she'll learn or she'll drown" with a thick southern accent and slack jaw. ;o)

  2. Lol, there have been times I have thought about throwing her in and doing that! But I know at the end of this I will be glad I let her do it her own way (hiding my frustration along the way) because she will feel better about it.

    And if this doesn't work at least we have the little maniac who would jump in the pool (if I would let him) and never think twice about it.

    I mean it would be rare for both of our kids to be Olympic swimmers, right?


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