Lyd loves the water, loves swimming pools, but hates to get her face and head wet and will not, under any circumstances, put her head underwater willingly.
I last signed her up for Park & Rec swimming lessons two summers ago. She enjoyed the lessons at first; the teacher didn’t force her to put her head under the water, and, of course, she loved being in the water. She had a great two-week session, where every day she asked all day long if it was time to go to swimming lessons yet. However, when the second two-week session started, she had a new teacher — a BOY teacher. Two years ago I wrote a blog post about how she flipped out about that BOY teacher, crying and refusing to get into the water. I didn’t feel that was a battle worth fighting, so I withdrew her from the class.
Last summer when I asked her if she wanted swimming lessons again, she asked, “Will they make me put my head under the water?” I said, that yes, they probably would want her to do that. I asked her if she wanted to take swimming lessons, and she gave me an emphatic “NO!” We had this conversation a few times before I decided to not push it and see what next summer would bring.
Well, next summer is here. At the end of the school year, I brought up the subject of swimming lessons to the father of Lyd’s best friend. He said that he had been thinking about putting his two oldest daughters (Lyd is between those two girls in age) in swimming lessons for the first time, but they were both scared of getting their heads/faces wet, too. So, we decided to put all three girls in the same class together, and hope that positive peer pressure would make it a good experience for them. We chose one two-week session that would work for both of us.
When I mentioned this to Lyd, she emphatically insisted, “I don’t want to take swimming lessons!” So, I said no more about it, but didn’t pull her out of the class.
Last week, as the time got closer to when the classes started, I brought it up to Lyd again. She still didn’t want to go, but I reminded her that she’d be going to swimming lessons with her best friend, the same best friend that she’s been asking all summer to have a play date with. THAT got her thinking. A chance to see her best friend every afternoon? That was worth thinking about a little more thoroughly.
I personally decided that I would let her make her own decision. I was not going to force her one way or another. I helped her think through the pros and cons of each decision, but I didn’t try to steer her in any one direction. I’ve learned with my daughter that she feels best about a decision if she can make it herself. But I couldn’t help but be pleased when, after waffling back and forth a bit, and remaining painfully undecided for a few days (“Momma, I just can’t decide! This is SO hard!”), she finally and fully decided to go to lessons. In fact, she got herself so psyched up for lessons that as she and I and Jujubee walked from the parking lot to the pool area, she said, “Momma, I can’t wait to put my head under the water with my friend _____!”
And, wouldn’t you know it, when Lyd makes up her mind, she does it whole-heartedly. She has LOVED swimming lessons this week! She still is not keen on getting her head under the water, but she has excitedly told me after class when she HAS put her head in the water, although she more often puts her face in the water.
Still, we’re making progress, and she’s having fun. That’s worth something. The peer pressure of having her friends around is having a good influence, too.
And, perhaps most indicative of her growth, the night before her first swimming lesson as I was kissing her goodnight, she said to me, “Momma, I think that the last time I went to swimming lessons I didn’t like my teacher because he was a boy.”
I was a bit surprised, because I hadn’t brought that up at all, but I said, “Yes, I think you didn’t like that. How will you feel if you have a boy teacher tomorrow? Because you might, you know.”
She replied confidently, “It would be okay. I wouldn’t mind if I have a boy teacher. I’m older now.”
She is. She really is. My firstborn continues to grow up.
And, for the record, she has a wonderful girl teacher. 🙂