Today was Annika's 3rd swimming lesson. Despite having a good start, things have started to go downhill. Last week she was a bit hesitant, and kept trying to hold onto the side of the pool. She was okay for most of the lesson, though, until it was time to go down the slide. She slipped on the ladder getting out and started to cry. She seemed to recover, but then when she turned and saw me she lost it and started bawling and ran to me (a big no-no at the pool). She wanted to leave right then (there was about 5 minutes left in the class), but the teacher managed to convince her to come back and she even went down the slide. After the class was over, though, she started crying again.
I was a little worried this morning about how she would do today. She seemed fine while we were getting ready, but as soon as she got in the pool, she lost it again. She was crying and calling for me. I tried to reassure her from the side of the pool, but it wasn't much help. I asked the teacher if it would be better for me to watch from the viewing room, rather than being by the side of the pool. She said it might help, so I told Annika I would be watching her from the window and left her. And my heart broke a little.
It was really hard being in the viewing room. Because of where they were in the corner of the pool, I couldn't actually see Annika for most of the lesson. However, I could still hear her crying every now and then, even in the other room. My heart broke a little more. I wondered whether I was doing the right thing - whether it was better for her if she couldn't see me, or if she was now distressed because she thought her mommy deserted her in her time of need. I wondered whether I should take her out of swimming lessons altogether. I really want her to learn to swim, but I don't want her to have a bad experience with lessons that could make her fearful of the water. As a child, I HATED swimming lessons (I had a few bad experiences), and I really wanted this to be something that was fun for her. I felt sick for most of the lesson. I was counting down the minutes until I could go get her.
Afterwards we talked a little bit about the fact that she had been crying, but I tried to mostly focus on what had been fun during the lesson (there were at least a few things). When Annika's upset, I usually try to divert her attention from the negative and focus on the positive aspects, but I'm wondering whether I should talk to her a bit more about why she was so upset. Maybe it would be helpful for her to acknowledge what was making her upset? Or maybe not?? I'd appreciate any advice, if anyone has any.
I have a strong inclination to take her out of swimming lessons, but we're going to give it at least one more week (or maybe 2). Like I said, I really want her to learn to swim, but if now is not the best time, then I'm okay with waiting until fall. By fall she'll be a bit bigger and perhaps more confident. She'll also have had the summer to go swimming, and might feel a bit more comfortable in the water by then. I guess we'll wait and see how the next few weeks go. Hopefully next week is better, for both of us!