Monday, July 09, 2007

A Lesson in Swimming...and Patience

Padyn had her first organized swim lesson today. Not that she really needs swim lessons...she's already swimming by herself underwater, jumping in off the side, holding her breath, and touching the bottom. But I felt like she could use some instruction from someone not related to her; someone she would be more willing to take instruction from.

She has been very excited this past week when we talk about swim lessons. Every night she asked me if she was going to her swim lesson in the morning. We had to count down the days and figure out where in the middle of our normal routine her lessons would fall. Last night when she realized she was going to get to go to swim lessons in the morning she was thrilled.

The excitement continued this morning through breakfast, in the car on the way to the pool, and in the locker room where we put her suit on. Once we hit the pool deck, it disappeared. Completely.

This is a "Water Readiness" class for kids 3-5 years old. They get in without their parents and learn some new skills with the help of their young, tan teachers. I knew I was in trouble when, after introducing themselves, Padyn didn't even want to put her feet in the water while sitting on the edge.

"What?!?!" I screamed to myself. "You couldn't wait to get here! You love the water! Sticking your feet in is child's play! What is wrong with you!"

Oh course, I voiced none of this. Instead, I physically put her in the water, then walked away, leaving her to the young, tan swim teachers. I figured they would have better luck getting her to warm up to them if I was not around. Plus, I used to teach swim lessons. I remembered how much I hated the parent's "help" at getting their child to do what I was asking. It was better if they just went away and left me to it. So, that's what I did.

Well, in about 30 seconds, she was out on the pool deck again, and that's where she remained for the entire 30 minutes lesson. A nice young, tan lifeguard named Emma decided to try her hand at it. And even though Padyn loves girls by the name of Emma, this one could not convince her to get in. Afterwards, I approached Emma and told her, "This is not about the water. This is about the setting. She doesn't like new people and places. She can really swim by herself."

Emma was a kind, smart, young (tan) thing. She said she figured that out and would keep trying to get her in the pool throughout the week. I told her I would continue to sit out of the way and let her do her job, as I once had her job and I remember what it's like.

And Padyn and I had a little chat on the way home. I explained that this class was going to help her learn how to be safe in the water and if she refused to get in then she wouldn't be able to go in our pool either because she didn't learn how to be safe. Probably an idle threat, but what else could I do? Oh, bribery. Yes. We talked about that, too. We decided that when Padyn got in the pool tomorrow and STAYED THERE, she would get a little baggie of M&Ms on the way home. Want to know what she said? "I only have to get in? I don't have to do anything?"

Seeing my child in a pool, you would never have believed I have to bribe her with M&M's to get her into water. You'd think she'd be giving ME M&M's to let her get in.

We'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm not holding my or out of the water.

1 comment:

Angie said...

Aidan negotiates ALL the time like that. Like it's not good enough I'll give him candy for doing X,Y,Z...but he wants it for just doing X. Hopefully Padyn hops in the water during the next lesson. I'm sure that once in she will find herself carried away with the fun. Let's hope at least!

BTW ~ do I detect some issues with the "young and tan" people?