So for Helena’s birthday I gave her swimming lessons. They were for 20 mins a day for two weeks. I was nervous as I didn’t feel she was the ‘good beginner’ that I signed her up for – the head under the water thing was still somewhat daunting for her. The first lesson she cried… they had to do something called ‘rocket arms’ which meant putting your arms above your head in a point, face down IN the water. She said “No I won’t’ and stuck to it but sort of did it later when the Teacher basically told her she had to and helped make her. This as a strategy does so not work for me! In fact it usually leads to total break down…
So before the next lesson we discuss rocket arms, practice and discuss the possibility of using a bribe (in this case a bit of licorice) and whether that would help.
And it all works she does ‘rocket arms’ and is over the moon.
So the teacher is strict, listen (equals do as your told) or you have to sit outside on the side of the pool. She says what they will do the next day and makes it sound so exciting and the kids dig it, they get really excited. After every lesson Helena excitedly tells me what they’ll do next and they are all things I’m not sure she can do but she does. The teacher learnt their names in the first lesson and used them. Her praise was specfic. Her side chatter to the kids minimal but enough that she was friendly enough. Helena liked her.
Helena was so happy that she was brave? enough to actually answer the teachers questions and was the first to do so. For a while she was the only one, extra proud points.
So it gets to the pen ultimate lesson and they find out they are going to do diving. Holy Moly that’s big stuff… Helena has a case of subdued enthusiasm or is it worry? In the car leaving she tells me she won’t have the last bit of licorice as she could use it tomorrow as it’s my last one but “only if I do diving”.
This morning she says “last night, not when I was asleep, I wasn’t dreaming, I imagined diving into the pool, swimming and then doing it again. It means I’m not scared, I’m more excited to go swimming”
We discussed why learn diving, what is diving, how the teacher may show them…
Todays lesson and it was obviously somewhat scary but she did it, twice. She grinned like a Cheshire cat sooo pleased with her self. It was one of the other kids who cracked and cried, “you can do it” said her Mum, the child did but there was no smile on their face not even afterwards.