I used to burden myself with the notion that I must teach my children all things. I am, after all, homeschooling mother. The bigger the challenge, bring it on!
That was back when I was schooling two children and having babies and what not.
I found out that I can’t legally teach everything, (hello, driver’s ed!), and I physically can’t teacher other things, not the least of which is swimming!
I can’t do much more than get the kids to the pool and have them practice what someone else taught them. So imagine my relief and joy when I was able to coach my 9 year old to dive yesterday at my brother and sister-in-law’s pool.
It was a lovely scene. I’m holding the 3 year old, who’s doing her usual flailing and trying to get away, but don’t you dare put me down mommy dance, and I’m watching the 7 year old who knows enough about swimming to scare me to death as he inches toward the deep water. Meanwhile, my 11 year old, who knows how to dive, but refuses, was doing something I no doubt considered slacking, because she wasn’t swimming laps and she wasn’t using the diving board. At least she wasn’t drowning, either.
The 9 year old is very driven and competitive, and she wanted to learn to dive. I have so many children that I could have sworn we’d been through this drill before–last year, actually. That was probably with the 11 year old…
Anyway, I’m barking out commands the whole time, rocking my old lady cap again. “tuck your chin,…” “I know,” she interrupts, and she demonstrates what to do with her arms. “Streamline!” I am a drill sergeant with this poor kid. I command the 11 year old to dive and show her sister how it’s done. Eleven year old is not thrilled to dive, even though she is a born teacher if I’ve ever seen one.
I am watching 7 year old, holding 3 year old, commanding 9 year old to squat and do a granny dive/baby dive, and telling her big sister to demonstrate. We are the only people in the pool at the time, but there are several adults having a barbecue behind us.
I am embarrassed by my loud forcefulness, but that’s me in the pool with the kids. All fun and games.
After a while, 9 year old gets the hang of the baby dives and is ready to stand and dive off the board. She does it! We are thrilled. She tries again, and it looks like a flop to me. “Was that a flop or a dive?” I ask her. She doesn’t know. “Does it hurt? If it hurts, it’s a flop. If it doesn’t, it’s a dive.” One of the adults at the barbecue laughs at my assessment. It hurt.
Unphased, 9 year old continues at it until she can consistently dive. Then she was ready for a canonball.
Which inspired 7 year old to do canonballs in the shallow end, and I’m thinking, is it time to go yet?