Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why I Withdrew My Daughter from Swim Lessons



You know you've been busy when your husband comes home and remarks, "you know you haven't blogged since the 7th?"  And you snap back all rudely, "I KNOW!  I'm busy, okay?" 

And that's my life.  I'm currently working on balancing EVERYTHING, because, you know, stay at home moms don't do anything (sarcasm).  I actually like being slightly busy.  Not "too crazy for my family and important things kinda busy", but busy like "wow, I have so many awesome things going on" kinda busy.  I think I'm currently in the latter, which is good, and enjoyable for me.  Sitting at home is incredibly boring, and only talking to my kids all day makes me a little batty (Need.  Adult. Conversations.).  We've had lots of playdates with lots of different people.  We've had swim lessons , trips to Lake Tahoe, volunteer opportunities, and my new job as a Kindermusik instructor.  And THAT, my friends, is why you haven't heard as much from me lately.

Moving on to the main point of this post: swimming.  I signed my 3 oldest (6, 4, 3) up for swim lessons this summer.  I fought with my 6 year old EVERY day of the first session (6 lessons total).  She occasionally would get in, maybe try one of the activities, and always smiled the whole time once she did something.  Yet we fought about it every day, still.  She's not afraid of the water.  She is just so freaked out about lessons with the male instructors (you know, in her defense, "hi, I'm not wearing a shirt and I'm in the water, come grab on to me while I teach you to swim" is kinda an odd situation, right?).  The one day that a female teacher was present she was just fine.  So when she flat out refused to get in the water on the first day of the second session, I walked out and withdrew her.  She was so relieved, and so was I.

Here's the thing.  Knowing how to swim is a non-negotiable.  My children NEED to learn for safety reasons.  But aside from pushing her in the water (which certainly would disqualify me from any mom-of-the-year awards), there's really nothing I could do.  Throw on top of it that I also am holding my 8 month old through her fits (and that I was missing watching my middle children in their class), and these lessons were EXHAUSTING for me. 

 I really fought with myself over whether I should keep her enrolled and keep pushing for her to get in, or withdraw her from the class.  We generally make our children finish out whatever they've started (Zoe hated ice skating lessons last year, but we made her finish the session).  I don't mind if they just don't like something, but they have to finish.  But knowing how to swim is excluded from my quitting rules.  It's not an option to know how to swim.  They don't get to decide that swimming just "isn't for them."

In the end, my decision came down to knowing my child and responding to her individual needs.  We have four kids.  Two of them hop right in the pool.  It's so easy to say, "well it's fine for them, so it's fine for you."  But Ellie is not Zoe, and she's not Aaron.  Zoe is bold and daring and fearless.  Aaron is cautious but curious, and has a big sister in his class.  Ellie is slow-to-warm-up, stubborn, very cautious, and likes to learn by watching and then trying on her own when she feels secure.  And she has this weird thing with male teachers, apparently.  Once I processed all this information, I decided that withdrawing her from this class and finding something else for later was the best option.

Ellie needs more of a one-on-one situation.  And if it's not with me or dad, it's going to need to be a female instructor.  In my ideal world, I'd have access to a pool where I could take her and teach her myself.  But since I don't live in my ideal world (boo!), it means we're going to suck it up and get some private lessons to ensure that our children can swim (and swim well).  

Each child is different, and as much as I'd like them all to be the same in this one area, they're not.  Pulling Ellie to the pool side every lesson does nothing good for her, and it certainly does nothing good for my sanity.  And so, that's why I withdrew her from swim lessons.  Hopefully we'll find something more suited for her soon.

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