Thursday, July 19, 2012

Swim Lessons

Travis and I both enjoy swimming and being in the water. We've had Adaline in the pool since she was  a few months old and we've been working with her being comfortable in the water and general pool rules/water safety all summer in our pool and my parents' pool. But we thought she could use a bit of practice from a non-family member, so after much consultation with my good friend Julie and my sister, we enrolled her in the city swim lesson program. It runs in two-week sessions for most of the summer, four days a week, 40 minutes a lesson. Adaline was one of the youngest in her pre-school class, and by far the smallest. We know she's a slow-to-warm personality (meaning it takes her quite some time to get comfortable with new people or new things, but once she is comfortable, she completely relaxes and comes out of her shell), so we talked it up for a few weeks before the lessons started. Not too much, just to let her know the experience was coming and what it would look like and what she would be expected to do. 
On the first day of swim lessons, I could NOT get a smile out of the girl. She was definitely nervous about all the new faces. I kept telling her where I was going to be sitting, and I wore my big brown sun hat so she could easily pick me out of the crowd, but she was still VERY clingy. 

(see, no smile...)

She refused to even scoot up and join the group :(

When she finally did, the rest of the kids were jumping in and she sat on the edge. It was at this point that she broke down and started crying. I almost started crying. I promised myself I would give the instructors time to work their magic, so the whole first day, I just stood there wringing my hands.
She cried at least 30 of the 40 minutes.
We talked about it on the drive home and for the rest of the evening we kept revisiting it and talking about what to expect the next day.
It must have worked, because she only cried for 10 minutes the second day (although it felt like an hour for me). She was able to stop crying but still refused to join in and do the moves. The instructor didn't push it, and we all walked away with hope for the next day.

It must have worked because she didn't cry on the third day, but she still separated herself from the group...

 But the instructor slyly put her closer to the group when her turn was over... and she did try a few of the things the instructor asked her to do. By the end of the week, she was totally engaged and completing the tasks! Major improvement!

And by the start of the second week, the Adaline I know and love was starting to come out at swim lessons:

 (major kudos to the instructors for handling all those kiddos at once!!!)

 She was willingly sitting closer to her new friends and listening to the teacher :)

And by the last day, she was hopping all around the waiting area, super excited to start the lesson!

Thank you, Miss Violet, for all your patience and persistence! The most frustrating part for me as a parent, was knowing she could do all the things the teacher was asking her to do because she will do them at home with Travis and me, but seeing her refuse to do them for another person. By the end of the two weeks, she was really getting into it and showing that she had the skills AND that she would follow the directions of a fairly new person. That's all I wanted her to take away from the experience- the ability to listen to the adult in the pool, whomever that may be.

Because it was painfully hot at 11am the first week, Spencer stayed home with Travis, but the second week, they joined me in cheering Adaline on...okay, Travis helped cheer Adaline on, Spencer spent most of the time enjoying the unseasonably cool weather by napping in the shade :)

Hopefully we'll continue on next year and make even more progress and I'll get to see the new friend I made in the waiting area! (Let me know when you're in back in the area for a visit, Ann- we'll go for a walk or coffee or something!)


Auntie Sara said...

Awwww geez is she cute!!! I'm so glad she opened up to the experience and people!!!

Just call me Red! said...

I am looking forward to next summer! Coffee dates, park dates and anything else :)

Karen said...

Kudos to you for not taking her out of the lesson when she first cried. She has learned much from this experience...and not necessarily about swimming! It's good to know that you are supporting her in beooming a stronger person, both physically and emotionally.