On Saturday mornings, my eldest daughter attends a swim class. This is her second round, which means she’s starting to feel more comfortable in the water. It’s cool to watch her improve from week to week, but it is a bit scary as well, what with the whole potential for drowning. I try to remain calm and relaxed but there is an ever-present alertness in the back of my mind expecting something to go wrong.
Two weeks ago, she let go of the wall while treading water and went under in a big way. The instructor was helping another child at the time and didn’t see this happen. My heart dropped into my guts, and then she swam back up and held on to the wall. She looked rattled but then shook it off. It was scary but she learned to hold on to that wall, right? No. The following week, she did the same thing and was down even longer. I freaked. Started walking down to the pool’s edge, and then she popped up. I reminded her to hold on to the wall and she absolutely melted. In hindsight, I think had I avoided saying anything at all she would have been fine, but because I drew attention to the incident and indirectly called her out in front of everyone else, she lost it. Hugs were required and given and I sat on the pool’s edge for the rest of the lesson. She did just fine and had a blast, doing crazy front and back floats, blowing whale bubbles, and bobbing under the water.
I wish I hadn’t said anything, but I think I needed to. That’s a difficult aspect of parenting, having to teach your kids about fear. I don’t want her to go through life afraid, but at the same time she needs to be aware of potentially dangerous situations. Hard line to walk. We’ll see how swimming goes this week. I’m sure she’ll take on the pool like a champ.