Munchkin has NEVER and I mean NEVER had a fear of water. This means that when he was 15 months old and I was widowed just a few months and took him to the beach with my mom and dad...instead of sitting still and putting sand EVERYWHERE like every other baby on the face of the earth...he would run full tilt to the water, which meant that I spent all my time running on the beach that summer. I taught him how to float and how to kick and how to get his face out of the water.
That winter, I put him in swim lessons. By the end, he was able to actually swim. He was not even 2. My goal was for him to know how to move in water...I really didn't care what his stroke looked like, just that he knew what to do.
Fast forward to this summer. He decided that he wants to invent his OWN swimming. Which would be fine if it was actually swimming and keeping his head above water. His "invented" swimming looks much more like an octopus drowning than anything else. More than once I have had to reach down and pull him up because he has scared the pants off of me. He replies that he can DO.IT.MYSELF! AHH...the independence.
So, even though in the past he has been a strong swimmer. Even though he has gone off of diving boards for the two previous summers. I put my foot down. I told him until he showed me he could swim across the lap pool without touching the bottom that he couldn't go off the diving board. I really could care less about his "form" what I want to see is that he has the skill to keep himself moving and afloat.
It is mid July. We have been having this battle of the wills since Memorial Day. Every time we go to the pool. I mean EVERY TIME.
Him: Mom, can I go off the diving board.
Me: Have you decided to try swimming across dolphin cove?
Him: Nope. I don't want to.
Me: ok, that is your choice, but no diving board until you decide to do it.
Him: That's not fair
Me: I didn't say it was fair, I said it was the rule
Last weekend we went to the pool with my brother and his kids. They just finished swim lessons and my nephew actually listened to the instructor. He is a pretty good swimmer and can get from point A to point B without much trouble. The boys decided to have a race. His cousin kicked his butt because, you know he was actually swimming instead of flailing his arms and legs and sinking.
Munchkin was FURIOUS. He is not accustomed to losing at things. His attitude did earn him a time out and it was another opportunity to talk about being a gracious loser. Yeah, he isn't very good at that. I explained to him that if he used his real swimming when he was racing it would probably work better and that maybe his invented swimming was better for the splash pool. Yep that didn't go over well either. See he wants things to be his way. He wants them to work exactly the way he envisions them in his head. I didn't mention it again, and we enjoyed the rest of the time at the pool.
Fast forward to last night. He asked if he could show me his swimming across the pool. He put his mind to it and swam the entire length of the lap pool in one try. STINKER! That then earned him a solid hour of going off the diving boards and swimming to the other side. We agreed that only "real swimming" was allowed in the dive pool.
Sometimes all we need to be successful is to DECIDE to do what needs to be done. Hopefully this is a lesson that he will remember!