Helen’s checkup went VERY well. The nurse asked her to take off her shoes to be weighed, and Helen said, “But they’re NEW.” But I took them off of her and she stepped up onto the scale. 35 pounds. Then they measured her (always an interesting process with a 3-year-old, apparently), and she’s 40.5″ tall. She’s in the 75th percentile for weight and off the scale for height. She’s actually the average height of a 4.5-year-old girl. I’m not surprised, because usually when we’re around other kids her age Helen is a good 3-4 inches taller than they are. When I tell people she’s three, they usually ask if she’s about to turn four. Nope, she’s a freshly-minted THREE. Very verbal, though, so it’s an easy mistake to make, I guess.
I just wish she weren’t so timid about everything.
But TODAY, she made HUGE strides… I took her (and Alice) to the pool after lunch, and Mom met us down there. Helen loves it when my mom comes, because that means that she gets to get in the big pool and jump into my arms a lot — something I can’t do if I’m there alone with both girls.
So we got to the pool with all the gear, including two floats (a crab with a sunshade for Alice, and a boat for Helen). We pulled them around the big pool for a while in those, and then Helen wanted out of the boat. She deathgripped my neck, so I told her that she needed to wear the inflatable armbands (“swimmies”), or get back in the boat. But I wasn’t really interested in being choked.
She opted for the swimmies, so Mom went and got them and put them on her. And, of course, the lifeguards blew the whistle and it was “break,” so all the kids under 16 had to get out of the big pool. So here Helen was, wearing her swimmies, ready to go, and she was kicked out of the big pool. So we all went over to the baby pool and played in there, and Mom and I took turns swimming lengths of the big pool while the other one watched the kids. Helen was fascinated — scared the first time Mom jumped in, but squealing with delight the second time.
Then, something amazing happened. My child, normally so terrified of the water and especially terrified that I might let GO of her in the water, got back in the Big Pool after break, and when I let go of her, she kicked and dogpaddled and came to me. I was only a few inches away, but she didn’t panic and moved on her own.
So we did it again.
And again and again and again.
She swam 15 feet to Grama. She swam 15 feet back to me. She told me to “Let Go!” She touched the bottom. She closed her mouth when the water got near it. She blew bubbles.
We had to leave, because of the doctor’s appointment — they needed baths and quiet time before heading over for that, but I promised Helen that we’d go back. So when Alice was having dinner, Helen and I went back. She swam, independent of me, for about 45 minutes. I had to DRAG her away.
I’m going to see about seizing this opportunity and getting private swimming lessons for her next week, because if she’s finally learning to relax in the pool, I want to capitalize on it and help her make progress. I’m so excited; so proud of her. She did beautifully today, and I was so proud of ME for not pushing her beyond her comfort level.