Swimming: M’s second lesson got off to a rough start when we walked in and saw that the person teaching it was the same guy who did her disastrous private lesson. She just whispered to me, “that’s Buzz!” (the actual name he goes by). I asked her if she was scared, and she nodded. She stayed sitting in my lap and wouldn’t get into the pool with the 5 little boys in her group. Thankfully, Buzz did not push it. After a few minutes she slowly slid off my lap and agreed to get in the pool with them. I walked her over and, toy dinosaur in hand, she sat at the end of the row. From there things went well. She kept trying to show Buzz her dinosaur. Whenever he asked her if she was ready for her turn she responded enthusiastically, and happily did all of the skills they worked on (head in the water, front float, back float, kicking with straight legs). When it came time to line up for jumps into the pool, my not-yet-three-year-old girl outjumped every single 3 to 5 year old boy. She overcame her fear of Buzz and he was great as a group teacher. I’m glad she didn’t feel forced or pushed into anything and it all happened on her own terms.
I learned a big lesson the other day when I was late to work (a few minutes late, but still). I keep pushing snooze and getting there too late to participate in assignments, getting the most rotten assignment in the bunch. It was so extremely rotten last time that I vowed to myself I would start coming in earlier if it killed me! Today I left ten minutes earlier and had no trouble with parking, didn’t have to wait for a shuttle, and arrived with time to spare, coffee in hand. I have a sweet assignment and life is good! The value of 10 minutes cannot be overstated.
I’m trying to do the same thing with parenting. Everything is tense and M gets oppositional when I’m constantly saying, “Come on! Get dressed! Get in! Hurry up! We’re going to be late!” Naturally, it takes longer than ever when I’m pushing and she’s pushing back. With a ten minute cushion, she gets off to school much easier, we’re less stressed arriving and getting a shower and swimsuit on before swimming, and so on. I know this shouldn’t seem like rocket science, but I’m constantly amazed at how much easier parenting (and life) is with more time!