"Under the sea. . . under the sea. . .
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter,
Take it from me. . ." - Sebastian the Crab, from "Little Mermaid"
I'll bet you expect me to write about the FCAT this morning, don't you?
Nope, instead I am going to tell you a story about swimming.
Yesterday, we took Six up to the Washington Aquatic Center - they'd advertised a swim team for kids. I called first, "What do we need to do?"
"Well, she'll need to come up and jump in. . .they just want to make sure she can dog paddle."
Before I'd even hung up the phone, she was digging out her bathing suit and giggling.
We arrived at the pool and filled out the appropriate paperwork. Fifteen met us there (she and her friend Lulu had just finished driver's ed class) to cheer her sister on.
"Can I get in, Mommy? Wait, I have to go to the bathroom!" My Six is writing a book entitled "Great Potties of America." We've got a lengthy list of them under our belts.
She came back and jumped in. "Okay, I'm going to see if you can pass the test," the young man said, "Now you need to swim to the end of the pool." We all turned and looked at him. No one had said anything about swimming to the end of the pool!
"Give her a minute," I said. "She's a good swimmer, but she hasn't been in the water since last summer." He waited patiently.
She looked fearful as she tried and tried again, each time sinking below the water in a panic.
"I'll get in with her, " Fifteen said. She took off her sweatshirt and jumped in, fully clothed. "Come on, Sweetie, you can do it." Lulu, not one to miss a wet t-shirt opportunity, jumped in too.
"Okay." Puff puff puff. "Okay." Paddle paddle paddle. "O-blub-kay." She just wasn't up to the challenge.
"You know what, we'll try later. . .come on out, pal."
"I couldn't do it, Mommy." She cried as I wrapped her in her towel. I felt so bad.
"You tried, baby. It's okay." I looked at Fifteen and friend, who stood beside us dripping defeatedly. "You're a good sister. Thanks guys."
I'd watched her swim like a fish last summer - jumping off the back of the boat, confidently bobbing along with her arms and legs paddling ninety to nothing. Doing tricks off the diving board and swimming from one end of the pool to the other. She is one joyful swimmer.
But I guess somehow all the pressure and feeling as though she were being put on the spot, the weirdness of two teens in wet jeans cheering her on and mom and a coach looking at her worriedly and expectantly were just too much.
Does it mean that we need to keep her out of the water? Of course not! It just means that she doesn't perform well as a swimmer when she's under the gun. Once we get her in the right environment, where she can just do her thing, we'll have to nail that girl's fins to the floor!
When you dump all that stress on a kid, you're just not going to get the same result.
And you thought I was going to write about the FCAT. . .
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