She didn’t get in the water today. And you know what? I am okay with that. I woke up feeling a peacefulness this morning. Why over-analyze or stress about this? I mean, she’s 3 1/2.

Thank you, all of you, for the comments you sent me both privately and on this blog. My Aunt Debbie sent me advice too, via my mom, who also had words of ease. All of you reminded me that 1) parents all experience these moments of perplexity, and 2) there is time for her to learn—it doesn’t have to be right now. You are right of course, and you have the experience, also, to know.

So, you who sent me your encouraging words, know that I took them to heart and want to respond to each of you personally, as well. They helped me to feel settled into my good mood this morning, and I decided that I would alleviate the pressure on my daughter by turning my mind to this thought: “I do not expect her to get in the water, and if she does, I will be pleasantly surprised. Let’s just get what we can from this time together and these lessons.” We ate breakfast, had a dance party, chose her suit, and went to the pool.

She told me yesterday afternoon that she was feeling afraid of the water. There is a small platform lowered into the pool, on which the toddlers stand. There are only four in a class, but with all of them moving on the platform, Katie explains that she is scared about falling off into the deeper water.

Today I could see for sure that this is the case. Whereas yesterday she expressed her fear in more of an aggressive general way (leading me to think maybe some of this was defiance) just saying she didn’t want to get in and wouldn’t, today I could see that some of that aggression yesterday was just covering up what she really feels. As she approached poolside today, her face registered in quick succession the following emotions: eagerness, fear, disappointment. I could see that part of her wanted to get in the water actually very much, then she was afraid, and then let down. I just hugged her and hugged her, and gave her a kiss. There is no sense in making her feel worse than she is making herself feel. I again had her sit by the pool and watch the lesson, telling her that she could do her best to watch Miss Jessica.

The good part about today is that I had the chance to chat with another mother, a mother of twins who are in Katie’s class and who just moved to our city a couple of months ago. I really enjoyed our conversation. At the end of class, Katie said goodbye to Miss Jessica, and I chatted with her a little, too. I thanked her for her patience, and I explained our philosophy, which is that we want to teach Katie that we still need to attend and actively observe class even if we aren’t actively participating in it. (As an aside, though, and something I did not mention to the teacher, is that I do believe forms of observation can be active. Even students who are quietest in a class can be actively participating in it, I believe). It was positive all around.

Later today (after my eye appointment, which is another story…) my parents and I walked to one of the neighborhood pools and took both kiddos swimming. My mom has all the pics from that, which she is sending later tonight. It was Eric’s first time in the water, and Katie swam like a fish both with me and with her Boppa. We practiced techniques we have watched in her class, and a couple times, I saw her eyes light up when she realized what we were doing. We swam for a good hour and a half and then walked back home. Katie said, “This is the best day ever!” Eric loved the water, too. He was laughing and laughing as he splashed his hands around.

So we’ll keep going to our class, hopefully we might even make some new friends, and we’ll swim together or with grandparents when we can. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be good, because it has to be. I am determined that she and I will make this one of our better summer memories. We have that chance. If she ever does make it in the water during her lesson, I will let you know!