Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Swim Lessons

Maddie does great in groups!
Amelia is already looking fearful.
At our friends' pool.....Amelia rocked it!

Maddie and Amelia started swim lessons this week. I say "started" because, for Amelia, they didn't last long. The young people who are conducting the lessons seem a little more strict than last year, which just doesn't work for Amelia, who is so sensitive. Actually, none of it works for her. She doesn't want to be told what to do, she doesn't like someone strange holding her in the water, and she especially doesn't like to be away from me right now. So, after a very bad mothering moment of basically forcing her to start the lessons on Monday, she came crying to me! My heart went out to my sweet girl! Amelia's needs are hard to meet (much harder than my other children) but I will do all in my power to meet them. Amelia challenges me to be a more patient, kinder mama everyday. And sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't.

So, after Amelia came crying and running over to me, the director came over and said to Amelia .....one more hug for mom and then you come with me. Well, as I knew, Amelia would have nothing to do with that! And, I certainly wasn't going to force her into the situation. What good would that do? So, I politely told the director that Amelia would be back tomorrow perhaps but that her time in the water was done for that day. She started to tell me that she should get back in so as not to have a fear of the water. I assured her (though I felt that it really was none of her business) that Amelia is not afraid of the water but rather the situation.

Today, after talking to Amelia and hearing her wishes to learn to swim in a less controlled, more free situation, I told the director that she would not be continuing with lessons. She then talked to Amelia in a not so respectful way about how she should learn to swim once she gets over her fears......ETC. I again interrupted her to politely tell her that Amelia is not afraid to learn how to swim. But, as might be expected, I don't think that she really heard me.

As I am watching Maddie in the water and sitting on the sidelines with Ben, Amelia, and Leah, I see another swim lesson about to begin. This time it is with 4 year olds. There are 2 boys that absolutely don't want to go into the water and they scream and scream...even after 10 minutes, they are still screaming for their moms. The director takes over because the young women who are teaching the lessons don't know what to do at this point. She carries them both into the water, screaming and kicking! I can't believe that the parents are allowing this to happen! Do they really think that this will be the way that their children learn how to swim? Most likely, this will only result in bad memories of what it is like to learn to swim! Even to this day, I have a bad association with swim lessons....as a young person, I was forced to dive under the water for rings when I was really afraid to. I remember how awful it was!

I'm glad that I was able to listen to my children and respect their learning wishes. Today, after swim lessons, we went to a friends' house to play in their pool. Amelia shined!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Lydia, I can so relate to your situation.
    Rainer is the same way. We have never lasted long in any kind of group class setting. I have to tell you some stories sometime. Isn't is a blessed wonderful thing to be able to save our sensitive children so much anxiety by honoring their own path?