At the end of last week’s swimming lesson, the teacher said that Reid was ready for Preschool A, a class where the kids go with the teacher while the parents watch. I had already signed up for another session of Parent and Tots 3 but thought I’d leave the decision up to Reid. Well, at first, I’d said that we’d already signed up for the other and thought we’d stick with it for 6 more weeks but when yesterday was cold and grey and I was thinking of how I hate putting my work clothes back on after we’re done swimming and going out wet into the night, I reconsidered. When I got to daycare, I told Reid that M, her last teacher, had said she was good enough to go in the pool without me. Reid didn’t appear to be tempted or even flattered. I believe she said something like, “I don’t wanna” without hesitation. I made a pitch about Reid being big, like Melissa’s kids who swim with their teachers while Melissa watches. I also told Reid that it would be just like at gymnastics where she goes with the teacher while we watch. The added details didn’t persuade Reid. She asked why C, a little boy in gymnastics, has his mother accompany him, and I said that I thought he was a bit younger than Reid or maybe he just wanted his mama to be with him a little longer. I didn’t want Reid to feel shame about wanting me to go into the pool with her, as much as I didn’t want to go into the pool.
When we walked out of the change room, both of us in our swimsuits, Melissa grinned and noted that we would both be swimming. Yep, we did and I loved Reid’s warm little body snuggling close in the water, seeing her grin of pride upclose when she completes a task she is uncertain of, like jumping from the wall, and being in the water. I even survived pulling my work clothes back on.
When I sent this story out as an email, my soon-to-be nephew – the one who teaches swimming lessons – wrote to suggest that I ask if I could shadow Reid in the Preschool A class when she first starts it. A good idea, I thought, why didn’t I think to ask his opinion first?