Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To swim or not to swim and managing expectations

Yesterday was Emma's first swimming lesson (of 10 as the course takes place every week-day over 2 weeks). Parents are not allowed to stay so that the teacher is the sole authority & the kids concentrate on the task at hand.
For the first two lessons they ask you to stay in (or near) the building so that you can take your kid home or intervene should things go totally south.

No call while Will and I walked around the neighborhood; 10, then 15, 20 and 30 minutes went by. I began to feel confident that Emma was doing fine despite the fact that on Saturday she had refused to swim when we went to the nearest public pool with a friend of hers.

10 minutes before the end of the lesson I went up to the waiting room and then to the changing room with the other parents. Emma was not long.

She came through the door and told me she had not swum. The swimming teacher confirmed that she had spent the hour sitting on the edge of the pool, watching, despite repeated invitations to join the others in the water. "Keine Chance" were his exact words.
Plonk. (the sound of my heart sinking)

I was really sad that she had not enjoyed herself and participated. Then as I drove home and rushed to make dinner quickly so that we would still make Will's bed-time I began to feel extremely annoyed at Emma.
Tout ça pour ça (all that for nothing as they say in French).

I know this is me being impatient and frustrated and not her fault. My expectations, my hopes. She was fine. She even told her Dad that she had been swimming. I told her it was ok and that we would give it another go. She could not care less. She just wanted dinner to be served and to play with her dolls.

I realize it's not going to help if I push her. But in all honesty I was angry that she had not even given it a go.


This is a recurring thing; both Steph and I are impatient and quick. We tend to want to move on with things. And because Emma is such a big girl in many aspects as well as enthusiastic and bright we do expect a lot of her. Also, especially initially, she seemed even more mature in comparison to William. But Emma likes to take her time, gaze into space, walk slowly. Stall. Make excuses. Ask us to wait. Tell us she "just has to feed (my) baby".

Emma needs to take her time. She walked at 18 months. It took her ages to poo in the toilet and not her nappy. Honestly, I was despairing. At gym class (Turnen) it had been the same. She had spent lots of time watching kids first and only then did she timidly try herself. Often screaming for help in the middle or saying she could not do it. Only encouragement, loads of praise and patience helped.
And the fact that she was doing the class with friends meant she truly enjoyed her gym classes. Unfortunately, no children of her kindergarden are doing the swimming course at the same time as her.
Recently she went to the forest on a school trip and screamed when she realized the ground under her feet was soft. She asked to be carried. Eventually her kindergarden teacher calmed her down and convinced her she could not be carried. But she did tell me that Emma had seemed panicked. She totally dislikes leaving her comfort zone.
I have to learn to deal with my disappointment and not make her bear it. She has her own timing - however annoying it may be to me, I have to respect it and let her learn at her pace. Somehow I have to keep in mind that she is a little girl and that she wants to stay little - which is ok - for some things, a little longer than I would like. I have to respect that.

I must say though, especially in the light of this last episode, that I am really apprehending the move and the changes it will bring and that I will have to somehow manage.


As for the swimming, I think we will try again tomorrow and hopefully she will feel more confident. If not, to hell with it, we have other things to do and enjoy in Vienna before we leave in a month.

1 comment:

Isla said...

I think its so hard to hide our own expectations Ceyda is the opposite of Emma she rushes into most things over excited...completely over eager i feel as though i spend most of my time reigning her back..only on Monday i did my first fully clothed leap into the toddler pool as she had gotten back in fully clothed and slipped enjoy your last weeks in Vienna xxx