Friday, July 2, 2010

I'm Not The Only One With Stick-to-it-iveness

Brand new giveaway for e.l.f. cosmetics here.

And I have a chance to win tickets to The Emperor's New Clothes from the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre here for my Chicago friends.


I wrote the other day about how I'm trying to ensure the wee ones learn the value of persistence through my example, especially for Mister Man. He tends to be a perfectionist, and frequently doesn't want to try things unless he's pretty confident he'll succeed.

It's something we've been working on for quite awhile, and every once in awhile, we can see that it's really making a difference.

For example, Mister Man recently had a birthday party at our gym for one of his friends. The party started out in the pool area and later moved inside. The pool wasn't open only to the party but was filled with all sorts of parents and children - mostly children.

I was the one of only a few parents who had brought a suit and was prepared to get in the water with my child. Noting that the other parents were letting the children play together, I set a few ground rules for Mister Man (he had to stay where I could see him and he had to keep listening for me in case I had directions for him) then stood on the pool deck, watching.

After awhile, the pool had its safety break, and one of the lifeguards gathered up our group, announcing it was time for a swim test. The parents all looked at each other blankly - me included. We shrugged and went to the indoor pool where we learned that our children had to swim 25m solo without touching the bottom or they would have to have an adult within arm's reach in the pool.

Huh. This was new, but I'm all for it after having seen some of the antics pulled by kids and the near misses I've seen over the past few years belonging to that gym.

A few of the parents ducked out immediately saying their kids can't swim independently (ummm really? Your kids can't swim independently and you let them in a pool without you and with you only half supervising, if that?) and others confident their children could swim 25 feet.

I figured it was worth a try for Mister Man, since he'd been taking swim lessons for a couple years at that facility and was doing pretty well. Since he could swim any way he wanted, it didn't matter that he doesn't yet have the full coordination and strength to do a true crawl. I was going to let him, just to see what happened.

When the parents actually saw the pool and realized it was a full lap of 25 meters and not feet, several more backed out. Those remaining (along with other kid members of the gym) got in line to do the swim test.

I told Mister Man that he was able to swim however he wanted - crawl, backstroke, breast stroke or whatever, just that his feet couldn't touch the bottom.

As his turn came, he bravely jumped into the pool and came up sputtering and clearing his eyes (his usual routine), then he began doing his version of the breast stroke. I walked along the edge with him coaxing him along and reassuring him that he was doing great.

He took a couple breaks to tread water and catch his breath, but that's allowed (and apparently, I've been told most kids have a hard time getting the concept of treading water, but ... for whatever reason, he's great at it). He zig-zagged back and forth, crashing into the lane marker and the edge of the pool, but he didn't let it stop him.

As he got within ten feet of the end, I could see that he was getting pretty tired, but both the swim coach and I were cheering him on at that point - the other kids had all pretty much given up prior to that point.

He took another deep breath and continued pushing into the water until he gasped and made it to the wall at the end of the lane. Wow. Mister Man swam way more than 25 meters with all his back and forth, but officially - he succeeded.

In fact, he was the only kid in his class at the party who did it. He was awarded a bright yellow armband in recognition of his accomplishment, and you can't imagine the grin he had on his face!

He refused to take it off after the party, and he immediately called Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa to tell them all about what he did. They were pretty proud, too. Honestly, I wasn't sure if he could do it or not when he started, but I'm awfully glad I had him try and didn't put any negative thoughts into his head.

Next up? He's my future black belt!


Amy Sullivan July 2, 2010 at 8:14 PM  

First time here!
It's so hard to hold on to those negative thoughts sometimes, but look what happens when you do. Now you have an almost black belt :)

Mrs4444 July 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

Omigosh, he's adorable. What a great experience for him! Good job, Mom!!

Lucy July 2, 2010 at 9:38 PM  

Way to go, Mister Man!!

And I'm with you on the parents who didn't think their kids could swim--then why aren't you in the pool with them?? My SIL has a pool and as far as I know her kid has never had a swimming lesson. They just let him flounder around in there while they sit on the sidelines drinking.

And now you know why my son will never spend any time there without me!

Pat July 2, 2010 at 10:20 PM  

That is awesome, Mister Man, and Michelle! With parental encouragement for and confidence in them, our kids can do more than they thought they could.

Congratulations on Mister Man's success!

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet July 3, 2010 at 5:16 AM  

Suh-weet! What an accomplishment! Way to go, Mister Man!

Kori July 3, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

YES! What an amazing accomplishment-for both of you.

Karen July 3, 2010 at 8:07 PM  

Woo-hoo! See? I told you that you were a good role model for your kids.

Tara R. July 3, 2010 at 8:13 PM  

Wow! This is awesome. I bet some of the parents couldn't have swam the whole length of the pool. Great job Mister Man!

Michelle July 4, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

Amy - Welcome! And yeah, positivity is huge. (Black belt, not quite... still a white belt, but we'll get to that soon!)

Mrs4444 - Not me, good job him! He rocks :)

Lucy - Oh it drives me nuts when parents don't supervise kids who really need it, especially for safety reasons. Boo SIL!

Pat - They can do a ton. It so goes back to the Building Resilience in Children book I love.

Sherry - I know. I'm so proud of him!

Kori - A huge accomplishment for him. Me, I just stood on the sidelines cheering.

Karen - And you were right. At least here ;) Here's hoping they pick up some other good things.

Tara - I know it would probably be a struggle for lots of them. Some of them don't swim at all even. I may have to try next time I go to see if I can do it. I think I can though!

septembermom July 5, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

Way to go Mister Man!! and Michelle too!!

Claudya Martinez July 5, 2010 at 9:11 PM  

I'm so impressed!

Michelle July 5, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

Kelly - Oh no! It's all about him. I'm so proud :)

Unknown Mami - I know! Me, too! He's such a neat kid.

Melisa Wells July 6, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

Good for him! (and YOU: it's great when the kids know how to swim; even though they still need supervision obviously, it's a little easier to breathe, don't you think?)

Michelle July 20, 2010 at 12:30 AM  

Melisa - I'm so proud of him. I love that he can swim, but I'm SOOO not taking my eyes off him no matter what!

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