Thursday, March 06, 2008

Swimming Lessons

This past Tuesday Ella went to her first swimming lesson. She's always been a bit nervous in the water - in fact this past summer she was terrified of getting in a swimming pool without a shallow end unles she had her arms locked around either Matt's or my neck.

Funny thing was she is not at all scared of the ocean. Those powerful rushing waves don't bother her a bit. Probably because she can have her feet on the ground, or sand, whenever she wants. Even getting knocked over by a wave didn't bother her. But climbing down a ladder into a swimming pool was like torture for her.

The end of the summer we had a breakthrough and she realized that the little armbands actually work and it was like a whole new world for her - we couldn't get her out of the water! I knew it would be important to get some lessons so we could capitalize on her confidence before this next summer rolled around.

She is in a beginners class for 3-5 year olds and one of the older ones in her group (because most kids her age are probably more advanced). I really wasn't sure how she'd react when I told her about it (so I waited until that afternoon) but she ended up being really excited. So excited that she wore her swimsuit to the dinner table. Of course that meant that Catherine start digging through Ella's bag looking for her suit. She cried over and over "I want to go swimming, I want to go swimming." Had a thought things through a little more perhaps I should have signed her up as well, but I was under the impression I would have to go in the pool with her and (selfish selfish) my non exercising self could not stomach the thought of being in a swimsuit yet. Now I realize I could have had Matt take Catherine - I don't have to always be the one doing this stuff - especially for a night class.

Ella had a great time. They have the parents sit some distance from the class to encourage independence and Ella just said "bye" and left. No hesitations. All I can think of is how I could have never done that as a kid. I was so super shy that I would have never been able to go into a class without having a friend with me. And even with a friend it would have been questionable. I'm so proud of her when her doing new things so easily own her own because I remember how scared I was to do things like that.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being shy except when it causes you to miss out on things you were too scared to try. I took gymnastics when I was in elementary school and I was actually pretty good for my age. I was moved up into an older group - apart from all my friends. I remember doing the vault and because I was smaller than everyone it was set too tall for me and the coach was joking around about it. I remember that I basically put myself back in to the younger group. Same thing with swimming lessons - I didn't want to be moved into a more advanced group (even though that was the whole point) so I just hung around my group - my comfort zone - as long as possible. And again with soccer - the sport I ended playing through college - I was too scared to play until I was eight because I didn't want people looking at me.

I used to be nervous that Ella would struggle with shyness and timidity the same way that I did. I worried that she would be afraid of trying new things or striking out on her own. At this point I don't think I have to worry about that anymore with Ella. As much as I have grown out of my shyness I definitely don't think I could ever perform on a stage in front of people. If you've seen this post (if you need a good laugh, it's worth it) you know that Ella seems to enjoy it. At the age of four she's basically conquered all my childhood fears.

Now If only I could get her to kill spiders for me!


renee said...

I'm so glad Ella is taking swim lessons! Sounds like she's having a blast and can't wait to see her in action this summer! Also can't wait to see her dance again this summer... :)

Courtney said...

I loved this post. It's such a good look at how kids just don't turn out how you expect....and how they can teach us so much...
Thank you for sharing!
(also- the pirate smile is priceless!)

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