Yesterday morning, Alice peed in her pants four times before noon. She makes it to the bathroom for OTHER reasons, but can’t be bothered to go before wetting herself. I’d make her stay in the wet pants, but she doesn’t care. If I put her back in diapers, she’d pee in the diaper and then take it off and finish peeing on the floor. Ask me how I know.
So. I was a smidge irritated.
I promised her last week that she doesn’t have to have any more swimming lessons with Brock because she was getting irrationally afraid of him (this is the swim instructor that taught Helen earlier this summer). I don’t want to do that to him, because he was quite obviously traumatized that she was so terrified, so I just cancelled all future lessons. She was REALLY close to learning how to swim, but was letting the fear get in the way. I need her to learn to swim because she has gotten bored at the pool lately (since Helen learned to swim and won’t play exclusively in the shallow end anymore), and has started wandering off. This isn’t safe, because I need to be able to see Helen and Alice at the same time, and it’s just not possible.
Yesterday, I was in the right frame of mind to take her to the pool and give her a swimming lesson myself, because none of her hysterical screaming was in danger of chipping my Mommy Armor today — I had. had. it. with. Alice. yesterday morning.
We got there, and I let the girls splash around for about 20 minutes before the rest break started. After break (top of the hour at 2), I explained to Alice that she was going to swim with Mommy, without her floatie ring. She didn’t want to take it off. I said, “You can either take it off or *I* will take it off of you, your choice.” She took it off and came with me.
She screamed her guts out, as anticipated, but less than she did last time with Brock. I told her at one point that if she kept screaming we were going to do 1-2-3-UNDER. She kept screaming, so we did 1-2-3-UNDER no less than forty times (and I went under with her) in rapid succession. Now she is totally fine with going underwater. I never would have believed that, but I’ve heard MANY people tell me that works, and I just hadn’t been ready to try it before today.
Then I stood about 6 feet from a ladder and got her to swim back and forth to the ladder (with my hand under her for support and occasional buoyancy help). She didn’t like it, but she did GREAT.
At the end of 30 minutes, she was exhausted, so I let her go take a nap for about an hour in a chaise in the shade. Then my mom arrived, and we brought Alice back into the pool with us. We piggyback raced back and forth across the pool several times with the girls on our backs, and Alice started giggling and forgot she was afraid and mad at me. Then she showed my mom what she could do, and we made the appropriate fuss and gave her floatie back.
She discovered the deep end wasn’t so scary in the floatie, and we swam back and forth a bunch of times… And then she wanted to go down the slide. Which she did for a LONG time… 20 minutes or more. And then jumped off the low dive repeatedly.
The child is swimming. She’s not confident enough to be by herself over her head, but she made HUGE strides yesterday. I’m thrilled to pieces.
And now I’m glad we had a cruddy morning yesterday, because I never would have been that tough on her in the afternoon. And the tough love TOTALLY paid off. She was SO proud of herself last night — Jerry came to the pool straight from work and Alice showed off a LOT. He took pictures, movies, everything.