A couple weeks ago, we enrolled Sydney in a swim class. Well, technically, Sarah enrolled Sydney in the same class Clover was taking. I don't know what I'd do without my sister-in-law. She's fabulous.
I'm a firm believer in kids knowing how to swim, and since Syd spends so much time by the water down at the creek then it's good for her to be aware of some water safety stuff.
Even though Syd loves getting into her swimsuit, she had been a little bit hesitant about hanging out in the water. Also, she hates having water on her face with the kind of passion I normally only reserve for mushrooms (although I don't think I would burst into tears should a mushroom land on my face).
Sydney paid attention in class, and got some practice blowing bubbles and kicking and all things water related. I sat on the sidelines and cheered her on. I told her how good she was doing, how proud I was of her, how much fun water was.
And in between cheering her on, I kept my mouth shut because the truth is this: I don't like water much. I don't like swimming. I'm petrified of lakes and the ocean and deep spots in the river. I saw "Jaws" at a young and impressionable age and that pretty much did me in for the rest of my life, although I have been known to suck it up and go waterskiing or wakeboarding. I've also been known to hyperventilate in the water when I'm done waterskiing.
There's a difference between passing along caution and passing along phobias. My deal with water doesn't need to be Sydney's deal with water.
Once she learned about the safety of wearing a lifejacket, the world of water opened up to her. She was excited, and the past couple weeks when we've gone down to the creek she's been putting on her life jacket and getting in the water. She even goes in the murky spots I don't go in. I resist the urge to panic--not for her safety but out of a lifelong habit for my own safety--and instead try to celebrate with her.
I want Sydney to be brave, to try new things, to not pick up on the small fears I have. She is not naturally a brave kid, but my enthusiasm for roller coasters and performing in front of people has rubbed off on her, and that's good. It's probably too late to convince her that bugs are okay (I'm not irrational about them, but I do not like to touch them). But water? Maybe she'll learn to love water.
In fact, she has learned to like water a great deal. And I watch in amazement as this little person does things I wouldn't, as she does things her own way with her own sense of accomplishment. I want that for her, to be strong at what I'm strong at, but also to be strong at things I'm weak in. I'll cheer her on.
Speaking of doing things her own way...
This little person decided to potty train herself. It was not our idea--we didn't really want to be doing the whole potty training thing while we were on vacation--but she had her own ideas, which is just exactly how she is. She decided one day about two weeks ago that she was done with diapers. I admit that I kind of discouraged her from giving up diapers (probably on one of those days she was on the toilet every half hour or so), but she was not to be deterred. Frankly, I think she potty trained herself to spite me. That also is exactly how she is.
It's her own accomplishment, through and through, with very little help on my part except to feed her candy habit as reward.
That's how it is. You wake up one day and suddenly your kids have outgrown you and your fears.
I'm okay with that. In fact, considering I don't have to do diapers anymore AND I have a new little buddy to go on the rides with me at Disney World, I'm more than okay. I'm celebrating.