This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Swim Team Practice

Yesterday was MiMi's first day of swim team practice.

I had this planned since last summer: both my girls were going to do swim team, dammit. When it became a reality, CJ turned white with fear and begged me to not sign her up. MiMi was a bit laid back about it: sure. Why not? Sign me up.

So I did and yesterday was day one.

I didn't know what to expect. I just couldn't believe MiMi was lined up with so many kids (that we don't know) and was not looking back to me with fright. She just stood and waited for...what?

And she was on the deep end of the pool. The dreaded deep end that Tim had warned her not to go to unless one of us was with her. So I mentioned to the swim coach "she might be a little nervous about the deep end". Coach just kind of blew right over me (in a nice way).

Next thing I know, another coach says "100 yards of freestyle!" And the whistle blows and she yells "Group one GO!" and off go a group. And it continues...and MiMi is lined up for a group and the whistle blows and? SHE JUMPS INTO THE DEEP END AND STARTS SWIMMING THE LENGTH OF THE POOL!

OH MY GOD. I was about to stroke out.

Where is the person to help my little girl out? Where is someone to make sure she doesn't drown? She doesn't swim IN THE DEEP END OF THE POOL.

And then I saw her stop at the side of the pool... I wondered "is she catching her breath or trying not to drown???!!!" And then she would continue to swim. This was her pattern. I saw some other children struggle. I had to compare. But I was so scared that she would be upset that she had to stop. I just wanted to go to her and tell her "you're doing great! don't worry! you can stop as often as you want! i can't believe you are doing this!!"

After the freestyle, the next several 100 yards was to swim with their hands above the heads, on their back. She did this last year, during swim lessons, but NEVER AGAIN SINCE.

And she struggled. I saw her go to the side of the pool and tears in her eyes. She was upset. Then I struggled: do I go to her and save her from this overwhelming mess that I put her in??? And then I saw one of the other coaches, a male, go to her and pull her out of the pool.

And then he sat with her and was talking to her. I thought: yes, he's consoling her! And instead, I see him straighten his back, poke his head straight up and she was doing the same thing. I realized he was giving her instructions on what to do. In a few minutes, he would place her back into the pool and she would struggle some more, but she would struggle to the end of the pool.

She had a couple more breakdowns, where she had to get out of the pool. But she would jump back in and swim...or at least try to do it. Except for freestyle, she struggled with every stroke they had.

I just knew the coaches would tell me "she's not ready for this" but before they would tell me that, MiMi would tell me, in tears, "i'm never doing this again".

When Tim got to the pool, I ran to him, upset: She is having a hard time! I tell him. He gets there and watches in disbelief as she jumps into the DEEP END of the pool. He's walking alongside her, as she swims. WHAT IS HE DOING? HE'S GOING TO UPSET HER!! I think. I had struggled from my lawn chair: do I watch her and worry that she might be embarrassed? or do I read and act like it's no big deal, only to worry she might think I'm disappointed and therefore, not watching?

So, you can see, I had one of the most stressful events in my life yesterday. I saw one father, walking alongside the pool, yelling at his son not to stop. "Why are you stopping?!" I wanted to go to that guy and tell him "Show some respect, asshole! It's an amazing thing your son is DOING THIS!" then kick his ass into the pool. But I couldn't focus on him except for a minute...

This lasted 45 long minutes. When it was done, Tim was waiting for MiMi with a towel. When I got to her to hug her and tell her how proud I am of her, and apologize for signing her up for this...she was all smiles. The first thing she said was "I like the freestyle!"


As Tim came out with the questions that I would have tiptoed around, we found that she liked it. Her tears were out of frustration for not being able to do the backstrokes. And, she claimed, she was ready to do this all over again.

This morning, she said to me: I'm glad you signed me up for swim team. Now I get to swim a lot and learn new things.

Yet again, this little girl shows me a personality I can't believe can be possessed at 7 years old.

I need valium to get through this season.


  1. If only adults could be like 7 year olds

  2. Cindy, as usual, when you write about your kids in such a way, this post brought tears to my eyes.

  3. running to meet life with joyful anticipation...what a way to live!

  4. That is awesome! Sounds like she got your grit and determination!

  5. I suck at swimming. Glad MiMi is learning and doing well.

  6. Olivia: I suck at swimming too but probably for different reasons than you might think. :) But my little girl inspired me, just as you inspire me to write. :)