Water Baby

10 06 2006

Today was a sort of milestone day for Eliana: today was her first swim lesson.

A couple of months ago, with Summer in Arizona looming over the horizon of another great spring, I signed Eliana up for swim lessons at The Gold Medal Swim School in Chandler, AZ. Her mom and I thought it would be great for her to learn to swim so that when we visit the pool as a family, she will be safer than if she had not had lessons. Running late, we entered the school and removed her outter clothes so that she was in her new swimsuit. Unsure of what would come next, a young high school student came out of the pool and called Eliana's name. She would pretty much get a private lesson. That was neat.

Eliana seemed to be ok going with the swim teacher. I think her experience at school (daycare) seems to have helped her deal with new people a little better. When the teacher stepped into the pool, Eliana looked a little worried. When they became submerged together, Eliana started to cry. We expected this because even in the shower, she does not like to have the water sprayed or running down her face. After some distractions and efforts to have a little fun with Eliana, the teach picked her up slowly and carried her while she grabed a floating matte. She put Eliana on it face down and started to slowly pull her across the water. Every so often, she would gently push Eliana's face into the water so that Eliana would be accustomed to it. After the first could rounds of bubbles in the water, Eliana seemed to start to get the hang of things. Every time Eliana cried, I tried to wave and smile to give her some remote reassuance. I've become such a prototypical Dad.

On this day, I again reflect on my own childhood and the numberous summer days I spent at the neighborhood pool. A quarter was the admission price, and we stayed for several hours. My parents, knowing our enthusiasm for the pool, would drop us off for several hours on end. I remember my day picking us up in his truck, and since me and my brothers were all wet, we were relegated to a ride in the back of the truck on our towels. We dried off fairly quickly. I hope that Eliana and Annabelle will have many similar childhood memories.

Also on this day, I reflect on my hopes and dreams for Eliana's life. As a parent, I want her to have all the things I wasn't able to have. Of course I want her to earn them, but she should have the opportunity available to her. When I see and think about her swimming and having fun, I imagine her at swim meets in high school, and eventually college, and perhaps even the olympics. It seems that my own dreams and fantasies will be projected onto her. Learning from other parents who have pushed this too far, I know I will not be a demanding parent. I want her to have fun, and if she decides she wants to push her skills to the next level, I want to be there to help and encourage her. And, of course, I must be there if she can't quite meet her goals. Those are the moments I look forward to in the coming years.

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