I have a fear of water. Not necessarily for myself, but when it comes to my kids I avoid water like the plague. I have turned down more pool party requests than I care to mention because the thought of managing two little boys who don’t swim around water stresses me out. Obviously, this is not the best way to handle fear, and frankly, avoiding water in California is almost impossible. Thus, I decided this was the summer Little Man would need to learn to swim.
Since turning 4 last month, he has hit all sorts of wonderful milestones that really have propelled him from toddlerhood into, well, a Little Man. I almost feel swimming is another one of those milestones I haven’t been proactive about, and he has somewhat absorbed my fear of water himself. He enjoys water when it’s about waist high, but the minute any water gets in his face, he freaks out. We still have a hard time getting his hair wet at bath time due to his “no water in the face” policy. Ok, ok, it’s not really a policy but more a preference we have totally allowed. I knew swim lessons would be a challenge for him since we have to get him used to his face in the water in order for him to learn to swim.
Thankfully I found a very reasonable private lesson, which started this week. I couldn’t tell who was more anxious, Little Man or myself (probably me). Little Man kept telling me that he would stay on the steps for the lesson, otherwise he would drown, words I know I have said to him many times. I don’t think he quite understood the concept of swim lessons or what they would be asking of him. When we arrived, the teacher was very sweet, and Little Man got into the pool with her no problem. I did try and encourage him from the sidelines but also tried not to be that helicopter parent. He did whine and ask to be done many times but the teacher did a great job of pushing him and keeping things moving.
By the end of the 30 minutes, he was doing back floats, pushing off the wall, blowing bubbles and even jumped off the stairs into her arms a few times. He was super excited about all he had accomplished, but no one was more thrilled and proud than I.
I am actually excited about the next lesson and look forward to seeing him being challenged more. But most of all, I am happy to not allow fear to rule my parenting.
How old were your kids when they learned to swim?