I signed Muffin up for two weeks of swim lessons three weeks ago and she finished them last Thursday. Day one was very, very traumatic. She kicked, she screamed, she did her level best to injure her instructor but he was kind, patient and dragged her in the water anyway. Where she screamed. At the top of her lungs. In an indoor pool area. My ears are still ringing...
Needless to say I was completely surprised! This is her third summer of swim lessons and she's never had any trouble before! Sure, she doesn't like to get her face wet - but most kids strive to hold their heads out of the water. Why was she acting as though she was afflicted with aqua-phobia?
After the first lesson the head instructor came over to her little group, took her aside and played with her in the baby area. Muffin was fine, she enjoyed that, she liked standing up in knee-high water. I went out to see how she was doing and the head instructor said that Muffin had a major case of F. E. A. R. and wondered how that came about. I was no help - I said that she had taken swim lessons two summers before and has always enjoyed the water. I promised to work with her.
We went to swim lessons every morning and every afternoon we went to the outdoor pool for some fun. Muffin played in the baby pool a little and then got her confidence up to come with me in the big pool. She was cautious at first but after she discovered the joy of "jump to Mama" I could hardly keep up with her. First she needed me to hold her hands, then she wanted me to just catch her, finally she was jumping on her own and loving it.
Needless to say, the swim lessons got better as well. Though she always insisted that instructor hold on to her, when the other little girls where swimming with just a floaty and a noodle, she was confident in her "kicks and scoops" and happily splashed through the water.
At the final lesson the instructor took the little girls down to the deep area (5 feet) to test their mettle. The other four were able to swim without a floaty on their back or noodle under their arms. Muffin left off the floaty, kept the noodle and let go of the instructor's hands saying "I can do it by myself!" It literally brought tears to my eyes.
At the graduation the instructor passed out the test results. The other four girls graduated to the next level. Finally he gave me Muffin's booklet and said "I remember last Monday when Muffin cried and was so afraid. To hear her say "I can do it by myself!" today made me want to cry. I am so proud of her!" All the other parents (who had seen her progress and sympathized with me) clapped and Muffin beamed.
She didn't graduate to the next level, but I signed her up for two more weeks starting August 3rd and know that she will "instruct" her little classmates and pass with flying colors. I'm so proud of you little girl! You've come a long way and I'm glad to see you turning into a little fish!
Way to go Muffin! I love you, Sweet Girl!