Thursday, August 5, 2010

Leaping ahead

Sylvia's been in swimming lessons for the last couple of weeks. Actually, swimming lessons is probably a bit generous a description--it's more like play time in the pool with mommy. I'm sure that's how most toddler-parent classes are, really, it just seems a little odd to call them swimming lessons.

Anyway, I don't know that I've mentioned it, but it's been cold here in San Diego. Much colder than I expected, though given our proximity to the coast, I suppose I should have expected it to be cooler here than in the more continental environments I've lived in most of my life. The first week of lessons were actually somewhat painful because the air temperatures were the same or lower than the water temperature, which meant Sylvia clung to me the whole time, just trying to stay warm. The last day of that first week was finally sunny and almost pleasant, and for the first time Sylvia seemed to have a good time and actually do some of the skills she was supposed to be learning.

Apparently the last day of the week is just the day Sylvia decides to step it up because today she did it again. Mostly what you do with a toddler is teach them to blow bubbles, crab walk on the side, get out and jump in, and then you start teaching them to float a little. To help with the tummy float, the teachers tie a fun noodle around each kid and let them float on their own. Sylvia's not into floating, so mostly we just hang out and Sylvia kind of does stuff, but not really. Today, though, when we tied the fun noodle on her, she was off and running. We spent probably a good ten minutes with her tooling around the pool, swimming quite happily. The teacher and some of the other parents commented on how suddenly she'd taken off. I felt like my kid had been replaced by someone else.

I wonder if this is just how Sylvia will learn--in fits and spurts. Will this be a life-long pattern, where she struggles for a while, not making any obvious progress, but eventually breaks through whatever wall she's facing and leaps ahead? Will that frustrate her, or will those moments of surging ahead captivate her and form a goal for her to reach toward?

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