I had a big smile on my face as I watched Sasha in her swimming lesson today. Largely because she was enjoying it so much. For the first time since she started over a year ago Sasha made a friend, a boy who was happy to chat and swim alongside her. It was lovely to see her interacting with another child close to her own age. They were laughing and racing each other to the other side of the pool.
I still couldn't relax though; I knew how close it was to all going wrong. If
the little boy had said the wrong thing to her, or if he had managed to beat
her to the other side, the game could have been up. Half way through the last
width she did in fact stop as if she had decided that was enough. Luckily the
teacher chose that exact moment to declare it was 'horsey' time (where they sit
on the foam woggles) and off she went again, happy to do her favourite fun swim activity.
There were two new helpers in the pool today with the teacher. That's another
reason for nail biting as far as I'm concerned. Sasha is so dependant on having
a good relationship with anyone who wants to persuade her to follow their
direction. They need to let her take the lead, and let her decide what she is
going to do and when. Kind of counter-intuitive for a teacher, I guess. The
young male teacher tried his best to get Sasha to comply, with a smile on his
face, but she was not taking that from a 'newbie' and was on the verge of
leaving the pool, until her main teacher whooshed over to save the day and laugh
Sasha out of her impending tantrum. Phew, I relaxed again, for a millisecond. Sasha was in a cheeky mood today. Instead of joining in the circle time, when the children were floating on their backs, Sasha decided to be the centre of the circle, kick-splashing the teacher as much as she could. Had she been made to stop, it could have been the end of the lesson for her. She was definitely testing the boundaries, and I was tempted to watch through my fingers.
She started her swimming lessons, and in fact continued, for a fair few months with me in the pool with her. Can you imagine how awkward that was, to be the only non-teaching adult standing waist deep in the water? Not to mention cold... She refused to do the bits of the lesson she didn't enjoy (such as putting her face in the water, or actually trying to take her legs off the bottom of the pool). However we persevered, and she now accepts that I no longer get in the pool. Before we got to this point, I'll admit that I did wonder a few hundred times whether it was worth continuing with the lessons.
She has progressed so much now, thanks to the patience of the
swim teacher. The difficult bit, as always, will be the next transition. How do we move
her away from the teacher she is comfortable with, on to the deeper part of the
pool where she can't stand up, where she would be out of her comfort zone?
The truth us, we can try, but in all honesty if she doesn't like it, she simply
won't do it and we could be back to square one. We'll have to give it a go soon
though - Sasha is by far the oldest in her class and I think a 6 year old in with the 3-4 year olds might be stretching the
teacher a bit too much...!
After the lesson we retired to the changing rooms, where for the third week running Sasha found herself opposite a young boy getting changed. Sticking her hand out pointing, she laughed out loud. 'Ha ha ha mummy, look at that wiggly thing!'. Cue head down and a few whispers from me, amidst thoughts on what book I can now buy to explain the human body and male/female differences to her - but she followed up with questions about what she has, if it's not a willie?! What do you call a girl's not exactly comparable equivalent?! Answers on a postcard (or in the comments) please!
I just hope that all the poor boys Sasha encounters in the meantime are not scarred for life.....