Just throw her in!

Gwennie took swim lessons this summer. Last summer she and I took a parent child swim class, which was funny because the other children in the class were under a year old. Gwennie was almost 3.

I know that she doesn't like to get her head wet. We go to the pool and she will do everything in her power to keep her head up.

Rhayn had a few classes before Gwennie did, because the level one class was full the first week we went. One would think Gwennie would want to get in the water, she is a kid, right? She was perfectly happy to sit by me on the bleachers and play in the grass behind me while Rhayn was swimming.

On Gwennie's first day of class, she told me that she wanted to get in, as long as she got to keep her head out. I told her that she needed to talk to her teacher about it. I am almost positive that she did. She climbed right into the pool, and listened intently to her teacher, Ash.

Gwennie starting to learn to float.

Over the course of the two week class, Ash was able to get her to bob her chin under the water, but not her whole face. Gwennie would almost float on her back, but she is so stiff in the water.

Then, the last three days of class they did something that terrified Gwennie. The level one class jumped off of the diving board. Into the waiting arms of the instructors, but they still jumped.

The first day, Gwennie walked brazenly up there, no fear at all in her eyes. Then she neared the end. Her body tensed. She stopped on the edge and told Ash she wasn't jumping in. So Ash got out, walked out onto the diving board, picked Gwennie up, and JUMPED in. Gwennie was shocked. Not happy about it at all.

Waiting in line for the diving board.

The second day, I didn't see what happened but Ash said they had to push her in.

The third (and last of lessons) day she walked up to the diving board. She had prefaced class by telling me that she wasn't jumping off that big thing. I once again said "Well then you need to tell that to your teacher." Once again, I heard her telling Ash that she wouldn't do it.

Ash had to walk the first child, a little boy, out to the edge, and pushed him gently off into Dan's waiting arms. Then she went back for Gwennie.

Slowly they walked to the edge. Gwennie's terror was evident on her face. Pure fear. I could hear Ash reassuring her that Dan would catch her. It didn't seem to soothe Gwennie at all. The Mama Bear in me started to come out, but I had long ago learned, most likely from my own mother, that kids need to do these things that scare them. They need to face their fear. This sort of thing will help her grow.

"Don't Push me off, PLEASE!"

As soon as Gwennie relaxed a little bit, Ash pushed her off.


When she surfaced, her face showed betrayal, but when she felt Dan's arms, her fearful expression melted into her normal glowing smile. She was over it that quickly.

We went swimming later on, and you could see her confinence level when she jumped off the side (into 2 feet depth, she still doesn't like to get her face wet, but she jumped by herself!) It may take her longer to get there, but maybe by next summer, she will be swimming like Rhayn.

Speaking of Rhayn, I wish I had pictures of her doing the backstroke. It is really a beautiful sight. Maybe another time.


bodaat said...

Go Gwennie go! I'm SO proud of you!!

Everyday Mom Designs said...

aww how cute!!!

Mo said...

I love these classes, we have been doing them all summer too and both girls have learned so much. It always made me smile to see Emmie doing the "stiff" back float, and then gradually she has learned to relax and enjoy the floatiness of it all. I am planning a post on our classes too because they are such a great way for the kids, (and me), to get through the summer.

Anonymous said...

Good for her! It's tough to see your child scared, but sounds like it turned out great.
I love how you put it on *her* to talk to her teacher, instead of letting mommy handle it. That is a great lesson.
Good for her and good for YOU, mom!

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