Saturday, February 26, 2011

I almost burst.

Mallory today you conquered a fear.  You don’t have many, but those that you do have you stand stubborn on not over coming them, and I don’t blame you one bit.

Let’s back track.  Fifteen months ago you took a set of swimming lessons at the YMCA.  It went really well until the day you “sunk”.   The night after it happened I wrote about it being the scariest moment of my life, little did I know that you would hold onto that memory; a memory that proved to be one of the scariest moments of your life.

You got back in the pool for a few more lessons, but you were scared, understandably timid, and so we took a break.  Over the summer you’d tip toe in the water at the lake playing mostly in the sand but not wanting anything to do with practicing to swim.  You went tubing, but feared the moment we’d make you float in your life jacket for practice.  You would do any type of water slide as long as your daddy was right beside you.  The slides at the kiddie waterparks were designed for kids so the bottom was flat and there was no chance of your head going under.  This was your fear. You would tell us “I don’t want to sink”. 

Fourteen months later, at a different health club, we enrolled you in swimming lessons. The time had come for you to begin to learn how to swim.  A fear of water, when you love it so much, is paralyzing.  Knowing to swim is life skill that your dad and I need you to know. 

You were terrified your first class, very brave, but very scared.   You asked me over and over again if the teacher was going to let you sink.  I assured you that it would not happen.  My eyes filled with tears for you as you carefully tried to do what was asked of you during your first class. You politely shook your head no when the teachers asked you to do something you were not comfortable doing.  The first class you shook your head more than you participated...  Throughout the entire 8 week class you were timid.  The other kids would splash, dunk and doggy paddle around you.  You would do what you were told and than quickly retreat to the side of the pool.  Each week we saw improvement.  Your little steps “I did a real bob!!!”, made my heart swell with pride.  Slowly you gained confidence in yourself and your ability.  By the end of the 6th week you would dive down for a ring and jump back up.  You were so proud of yourself and I was so proud watching you accomplish something that was once scary.

The very last class took the rest of the minor accomplishments and sunk them to the bottom of the pool.  Your dad was with and we watched as you walked over to put a life jacket on.  I heard one of the little girls say “We can go down the slide!”  Brent and I said to each other…by themselves? 

Now it is not like this slide is the biggest slide Mallory has ever gone down, because it is not.  She has done lots of other slides, but her dad has always been with her.  This slide ends in a big pool of water just over Mallory’s head.  This obstacle to overcome would be huge. 

slide dakotah 1 slide2

Pictures courtesy of Dakotah Sport and Fitness

We followed the class to the slide and watched as the girls climbed to the top. One by one the eager students flew down the slide.  You sat at the top and refused.  Your dad went up and tried to talk you into doing it but you would not budge.  Finally, one of the instructors went down with you on her lap.  When you got to the bottom and swam to the side of the pool you climbed out and proclaimed you wanted to do it again.  I pulled you aside and told you that you could do it all by yourself.  The life jacket would keep you afloat.  (And I also told you that if you did it yourself, I would buy you princess diving toys to practice with.  You had been asking for rings for a few weeks…perfect moment for a bribe.) You skipped off to the slide and happily agreed you would do it yourself.  Brent, shocked, asked what I told you.  I told him my bribe, and he laughed and said he promised you (small bites of) ice cream.  Would the bribes work? You climbed each step and we waited with batted breath, unsure if you would take the plunge.

And then you did it!  You climbed up on to the slide by yourself and came down it with a full smile.  You splashed into the pool and dog paddled to the side.  Your dad and I were so proud we almost burst.  You conquered your fear; all by yourself.  You went again and again and loved every minute of it.  Way to go Peanut, love you to bits.


Tom, Jaime, Kendra said...

Way to go Mallory! That is very exciting.

Amanda Jean said...

Okay, THIS explains why:
a-When we were playing house and she was the mom and I was the kid, she kept telling me she was taking me to ice cream...I thought it was odd that in her imagination, the parent would take the child for ice cream when I know it's something she's previously had to stay away from. Now it makes sense!

and b-She told me more than once about going down the waterslide (and how the first time, she went with the teacher and then after that she could just go alone). She was telling me so matter-of-factly, as if it was no big deal, but the fact that it came up more than once told me that it was.

LOVE this post.