Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Treading Water

We had the girls first swimming lesson for the season last night and as we rushed out the door, it felt like we were back in our normal "frantic family" mode.

When we got to the pool, my oldest daughter stood under her class sign and waited for her instructor with my husband. I went with my youngest daughter to stand under hers. Little did I know that a surprise was awaiting us!

One of the lifeguards approached us and asked my daughter's name. I guess she was the Head Honcho Lifeguard. She said that they had "moved my daughter up a level" due to her age. She is now six and apparently that's a whole other kettle of fish. Pun intended.

So, off we went to find her NEW class. Oh my.

Her teacher came over and called out names and my daughter was listed with the 5 other kids. Now, apparently, two were being "tested" to see what level they'd be in, but still. That's a pretty big class when you are used to being in one with 3 kids, tops. The other issue was that my daughter is a full head, I kid you not, shorter than these other kids. She looked extremely out of place.

I watched with a sort of trainwreck horror as the instructor took them over to the middle pool. My daughter has only been in the shallow pool so far. In they go, and I can see immediately (by the way she's clutching at the side) that my daughter can't touch the bottom. At all. The rest of the class are pretty much all standing up. I'm starting, at this point, to have heart palpitations.

The teacher starts by seeing what they know. So, she's getting them to swim out to her and then sending them back. Well, my daughter has no problem swimming out. On the way back, I see a look of panic on her little face as she's struggling to make it back. Luckily, the instructor sees it too and gives her a hand.

At this moment, I'm in full on anxiety mode. My husband is talking me down from the life preservers and reassures me that the instructor IS keeping an eye out and that they'll move my daughter if she really can't do it. It's not that I don't think she CAN, it's more the fact that the other children have an unfair advantage. When you feel like you can't do it anymore, you have the option to just put your feet down. My daughter doesn't have this option.

I don't want my daughters size (or lack thereof) to hold her back from things in life. I don't want her to feel that she "can't" do something because she is petite. But standing there watching her try so very hard just to make it to the edge of that pool, well, it almost physically hurt. Me, not her.

After a series of swimming back and forth and floating and gliding, the instructor took them all to the "very deep" end and asked them to jump in and then swim back. What the *#@+!!!!!! Is this lady NUTS??? It's a big class. There's a lot of commotion. My kid can barely swim. Sweating, sweating, sweating in the sauna like pool area, my heart is beating like a drum.

She takes a HUGE leap. She swims back. She gives me a thumbs up sign with a smile on her face. I let go of the breath I've been holding for the last few minutes. Maybe 30 or so.

After the class, her teacher comes over to me as I wrap my wee one in a towel. She asks me, in an incredulous voice, "she's six??? Seriously?" I nod. She then says, "she's the smallest six year old I've ever seen! She looks like she's four!" I again nod, with a lump in my throat this time. She looks at me, then, and says, "but she's FEARLESS. She's probably the best one in the class. Anything I asked her, she said "sure, I'll try!" She may be tiny but wow, she's really a feisty one! I'm going to love teaching her, I can just tell!!!"

I'm trying not to let her see that my eyes are welling up a little bit. In that moment, she just summed up exactly what I've always told both of my height challenged girls. It's why we adore the character Madeline and have the movies and the toys and the dolls. Madeline's theme says, "she may be teeny, tiny, diminutive, petite......but that has never stopped her, from being really great!"

Small, but mighty. Tiny, but tough.

I should have never doubted, because I was the only one that did.

Swim on, oh fearless one. Swim on.

1 comment:

  1. Ha, I can picture all of it.....good for her for getting out there and doing her thing!! Awesome!