Today's swimming lesson went - well - swimmingly, to steal someone's lovely pun from yesterday.
We awoke at our usual pre-rooster hour and had our morning snuggles. Bean played dress-up for awhile while I worked on peeling my eyeballs open. I made our morning brews (hot cocoa for her, coffee for me) and we sipped them together.
"Where we goin' tday Mama?"
"Well, we're going to your swimming lesson first, then to the grocery store."
"My swimming lesson?! Are dere gonna be teachers again?"
"Yes, the teachers will be there again today, but I will NOT let them pull you away from me today, I promise. If you decide to get into the water today, you will go in by yourself because you want to. Okay?"
"Are you goin' in wif me?"
"No baby, I can't go in with you. It's a class for big girls and boys to swim without their Mamas and Daddies. I will sit right where I sat yesterday though so if you do go in, I'll be right where you can see me and get to me if you need me. Okay?"
"Well, I'm not goin'."
"Yes, we're going to go to the lesson. But you don't have to get into the water unless you want to. We can just sit and watch the teachers and the other children together and if you want to get in and join them, you may. No one's going to make you get in. And remember, you're taking Rainbow Dash today, so if Rainbow Dash wants to splash at the water's edge, you may take her and show her how to do that. Does that sound good to you?"
(I came up with the Rainbow Dash idea late yesterday afternoon while I was in the shower. It occured to me that she'd been more comfortable in some other classes when I encouraged her to take Teddy with her. So maybe taking Rainbow Dash, her favorite water-proof My Little Pony, might help her with the anxiety over these lessons. I presented the idea to her then, and she smiled a tiny smile and said, "That sounds like a good idea, Mama.")
So we got dressed and ate our breakfasts and made sure Rainbow Dash was tucked away safely in the pool bag. We got into the car and prayed briefly for courage and FUN. And then we drove off to the pool, full of hope and trepidation.
And when we got there, Bean charged up the sidewalk and through the locker room and out into the breezy but sun-warmed pool deck with purpose. We'd planned to arrive early so Bean could watch her friend Bubba wrapping up his lesson (he takes the same class with the same teachers, but he's in the earlier session). She waved to him, saying, "HI BUBBA!" And he waved back. Waving along with him were the teachers, with great big smiles on their faces, and they all said, "Hi (Bean's real name)!" Oh, I could have KISSED THOSE SWEET GIRLS' CHEEKS!
By the time Bubba's class was finished and the kids were taking their turns on the froggy slide, Bean had her shoes and cover-up off and made a dash to get in line with her friend so they could both slide. At the bottom of the slide waited the teacher who'd taken Bean into the water yesterday. And Bean hestitated. And then she slid down, shrieking happily, and landed in the arms of that instructor, who smiled right into her face. Not a word was spoken of yesterday's incident.
It was then that the lump in my throat started to form.
Bean returned to my side after a second trip down the slide, and I bundled her up in her warm towel and loved on her a little, telling her how happy I was she'd gotten to slide. Did she have fun? YES!
Another teacher stopped by to say Hi to Bean, and asked, "Hey! Are you gonna SWIM with us today?"
And my girl stuck her chin out in a determined, solemn expression and nodded a GIANT affirmative.
And my lump became a goiter.
And minutes later, the teachers announced it was time to get started. Can you guess which tiny, bee-boppin' little mermaid in her red two-piece with her curly blond updo was into that water first, carrying a little blue pony in one hand and waving back to me with the other? And ran back briefly to give me a kiss before trotting out into the water up to her chest?
Y'all know who it was. Yes YOU DO!
My lump exploded into tears. My lips quivered and my eyes pooled up as I waved back, blew kisses and desperately tried to keep myself from SOBBING OUT the biggest
THAT'S MY BABY! DO YOU SEE MY BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL BABY? SPLASHING OUT INTO THAT WATER LIKE SHE OWNS THE PLACE? YES, MA'AM, THAT LITTLE GIRL IS MI-I-I-NE! ALL MINE!"
And you know what? She looked back to see me a total of two more times. I caught both checks and waved like a crazy woman. And her gaze never turned my way again for 28 minutes. She knew I was there, she knew she was safe, and she swam and played and hopped and blew bubbles and splashed and laughed, clutching Rainbow Dash by the hair the whole time.
My little girl.
She did it, y'all.
And every one of the teachers came to us afterwards and said, "Bean, you did a GREAT job today! You did everything so well - you're going to be a great swimmer!"
My girl. My little water bug. My Bean.
Incidentally, I am very very torn over whether or not we'll be taking anymore lessons after this session at this particular pool. The pool manager sternly attempted to shoo me off the pool deck and over to the concession area 50 yards away and out of Bean's sight line three times during the thirty minute class, explaining that when parents sit on deck, the kids keep looking at them.
Which, HELLO! YES THEY DO. AND THAT'S WHY I'M STAYING RIGHT WHERE I AM, DEAR. My child is 3 years old. This may be your pool to manage, but THAT'S MY DAUGHTER and I will not be leaving her when I know good and well that she may need me. We have a bond of trust that I do not intend to break for some fleeting "summer pool policy."
(Of course I'm a wimp and didn't say it like that, but hopefully she saw it in my eyes. I remained planted where I told Bean I would be and am thinking a letter requesting a review of the "no parents on deck" policy may be in order. Perhaps it's okay for the parents of older children to leave, but most three-year-olds are still quite attached to their parents - and they should be. They're still practically babies!)
I'll leave it at that for now. I don't get fired up about much, but I got a little steamed about this one. I'm curious as to what y'all think.