Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Troubled Waters

For the third swim session, I had to sign up the girls 6 weeks prior and simply guess what level they would be in. I took a stab in the dark and just figured they would be in the beginning class for a month and then move up a level. 

Well, Felicity did move up a level. Elizabeth didn't. She is still scared to get her head underwater. It is understandable. She is only 4 and I'm sure she will get more confidence with time and practice. Since there were still openings in the beginning level, it was no big deal to switch her from the upper level back to the lower level before the session began. 

Cecilia was another story entirely. She had been in Polliwog a month but still struggled with fear swimming without a float of some sort and going underwater where she couldn't touch the bottom. She also is too scared to float on her back without anyone holding on to her. But I had registered her to be a Guppy and I couldn't switch her back to a Polliwog because the class was full. I spoke with her instructor and the head of the program, both of whom are very nice, and they said they would work it out and not to worry about it. 

So when we got to the first lesson of the 3rd session and it still said Cecilia's name under Guppy, I assumed they were moving her up with the understanding she might need a bit of extra help. Cecilia was so excited. She was thrilled. Then, to add to the merriment, she found out her friend from her previous Polliwog group would be in her Guppy group with her. The two hugged they were so happy when they realized it. 

But when Cecilia went with her friend to the Guppy group, the Polliwog instructor pulled Cecilia from the Guppy group back into Polliwog. Cecilia stuck out the first lesson, but by the end she was miserable. She missed her friend. She was upset she hadn't moved up a level. And she didn't like the new polliwog group. The new polliwog group is all kids who are bigger and older than Cecilia and only 1 of them is a girl. She can't relate to any of them. They are all also behind Cecilia. 

The Polliwog instructor spoke to the Guppy instructor and they agreed Cecilia could try being a Guppy today but at the end of the lesson, she was told she'd have to go back to Polliwog because she wouldn't float on her back without someone holding her. 

So Cecilia is stuck because she isn't ready to move up a level but she is stuck in a group that is significantly less advanced than she is and within which she is lonely. Unfortunately the way the Y does it, Cecilia is in an older age bracket that does not have as many levels as the younger age bracket so it is harder to advance for her than for her sisters and there is a wider range of skill levels among the kids in each group. 

I told her to skip the lesson tomorrow and take a day off. (It has been an emotional couple of days for her.) We will see how she feels Thursday and I think we will try looking into private lessons for her where we don't need to worry about what group she is in or who else is in it. 


  1. That's so hard. When my parents signed me up for classes at the Y I had a similar experience. Being in a large group that was more advanced than me was not fun. I think you are wise not to force the issue or she could end up hating swimming and be afraid of the water. Better to focus on having a positive experience even if it means going slower.

  2. Poor Cecilia! Agree with taking a couple of days and letting the emotions settle. Pity they are holding her back based on one skill.