This is a post that is hard for me to write, but I am trying to work through some things, and I would love to hear any comments or suggestions.
Last night, Freckleface (our 7 year old daughter) and Skye (our 9, almost 10 year old daughter) went to a pool in Next Door Town to "try out" for the swim team. I say try out in quotes because there really was no failing, as far as I could see - all they had to do was tread water for 1 minute and then swim one length of the pool. Now, Skye has been taking a private 15 minute swimming lesson every week for the past 6 years. That's right, 6 years - every Tuesday, we go to a nearby nursing home with a 92 degree pool and all four of us (Brown Eyes included now, she is 4.5) get in the pool, and our wonderful teacher, Miss Mermaid, gives the girls each some part of her time. Every Tuesday.
We had been working with Miss Mermaid for weeks to prepare for this "test" - Skye and Freckleface had been swimming laps, working on strokes, and when they weren't working with Miss Mermaid, I had them swimming laps with me. They were ready.
The pool was a lot bigger than they are used to, but they have swum in big pools before. And all they had to do was get to the other end
Freckleface went first. She easily tread water but had trouble getting to the other end, so she got out and tried again, and made it.
Then Skye got in the pool. She easily treaded water too, but then as soon as she started to swim she stopped. The pool was too deep, she said (12 feet). She didn't want to look down at the bottom.
I told her not to look, but she got out, crying. She got in again, but got out right away, sobbing that she couldn't do it. It was over.
I can't even hardly write about this without crying too. Skye is extremely bright, does very well in school. But she will not push herself phsyically. Or in any other way. She had the chance to take up an instrument this fall, but refused, because she didn't want to practice. She had the chance to play piano and take lessons, since we recently were gifted a piano, but she also refused to practice that. She said she would play soccer this fall, so I bought her cleats and shinguards, and signed her up, and she played for one week and now refuses to play. She can't ride a bike yet, despite many hours of my and Starman's working with her, and now she refuses to try.
I am getting tired of all these refusals. I know she can swim, and I know the team will be a good thing for her. She doesn't need to compete, just practice, no one is forced to enter a meet. I think she needs the physical activity, especially as she heads toward adolescence, and swimming is a sport you never have to give up. In short, I am considering forcing her to keep going to the tryouts until she makes it, and then to keep going to practices.
But part of me just wants to give up. Stop pushing her. Let her face her own consequences.