We installed a pool this summer, just a 14-foot above ground job because where we live in-ground is just ridiculous. Summer's only last about 2 months, the water table is high because of Lake Erie and the re-sale value with an in-ground pool is incredibly low. So, above ground it was. We thought this was a grand idea because 1) we love swimming and 2) bebe is a fish, figuratively speaking.
Until we installed the pool. At which point bebe informed us - in loud, screeching, petrified voice - that, "No, I don't siiiiiiim, no"! Huh? Was this the same child who excelled at swimming lessons this winter? Who, at 18 months, could crawl the sides of the shallow end of the city pool, loved chasing after rubber duckies in the water and having Daddy dunk her? We didn't think so, so we tried again.
For two weeks. Every day, same result: "Nooo! I don't siiiiiiiim," and a tiny body clutching me or the DH in the hopes that she wouldn't touch the water. We tested the water, definitely not too cold. We would literally carry her around in the pool, she screeched even when only her toes were submerged (that got a 'My toe-sies don't siiiim, Mommy'). What was wrong with our water-baby?
Then last week we had a brain storm. The last pool she entered was at an indoor water park and had a zero-entry shallow end. So we grabbed our suits, her life jacket and headed out. She had a ball. She went in zero-entry. She floated a lazy river and didn't want to get out, she swam around the pool with basketball hoops and log-floaty things. When it was time to go, she didn't want to leave. We didn't get it. All the way home she chattered about swimming and floating and splashing. We got home, I pointed out the pool and said it was like the park we visited that day. She shook her head. "I don't siiiiim there," she said. I dropped the subject and started unloading the water park bag. She saw her life jacket and squealed. "My yife-jacket floats me," she said, grabbed it and wandered around the house with a soaked life jacket for a few minutes.
That is when my brain connected. We'd been taking her to our pool with just a floaty ring thing. But at swimming lessons she wore her life jacket. At the indoor water park, life jacket. Last summer, life jacket. This summer riding jet skis with friends, her life jacket.
My point is that we all need a safety net. For bebe it was her life jacket. For most of us, that safety net is filled with good friends, trusted family members...you know the type: the people who give it to you straight. Bald honesty and (sometimes) information we'd rather not hear. But having the safety net in place can help us reach staggering new heights...as long as we're still willing to take those leaps of faith.
Bebe? Now that she's got the life jacket, the backyard pool is her favorite place to be.