i signed mo up for swim class at our local community rec center. the first class she clung to me in terror, crying the whole time. she was, by the way, the oldest kid in the class and the only one that was screaming. i wasn’t mortified bc i understood this was a new experience for her but i do remember feeling incredibly guilty: i supposed that i had ruined her chance for a love of water forever since i waited a year and a half to get her in there.
get a hold of yourself, emily.
i was underestimating her ability to adapt to and grow in situations. 30 minutes in the water w her (for her first time, at that) and i put too much weight on what i had or had not done as a parent in the previous 1.5 years of her life, forgetting for a moment that she is a resilient creature capable of learning and conquering new things.
the classes were only 30 minutes long, two times a week. we went back each time and i talked it up lots in the car and always tried to show her plenty of enthusiasm for it. when we went in the water i respected a lot of what she felt comfortable with (that girl loved to stand on the stairs and play w the toy water snake) and was patient easing her into the depths. however, each class i made a point of pushing those comfort limits. she’d hold onto me as we walked around the pool at various depths. i put her on her back, on her tummy, spun her around, threw her in the air, dunked her under water. i never told her to be quiet if she cried out in fear or discomfort but assured her i was there and she was ok. slowly but surely, she came to love the water. clapping her hands in glee she would squeal “pool!” and when we finished changing in the locker room, would tromp confidently in the direction of the pool stairs to ease herself in alone. i sheepishly look back at my initial reaction to her fear of the water. but i’m glad i got to learn that lesson about what my daughter is capable of.