After asking to take this diving class, and asking over and over when it would begin, and jumping up and down and squealing with excitement when she was FINALLY told that it would begin tomorrow, and being completely ready to go, towel in hand, hours in advance...
Well, to be fair, Syd dove the first day of class. She dove--a little more reluctantly, but she dove--the second day of class.
Third and fourth day of class, though? No deal.
My part in the process was to sit in a chaise longue and bury my head in a book, giving off an air of "I'm not watching you! I attach no judgment nor value to your performance or lack thereof! Don't you dare go to therapy in 20 years and tell your counselor that I forced you to jump off huge diving boards at age 7!", while sneaking peeks at her out of the corner of my eye, and noting uncomfortably how long the poor teacher spent with her each turn (I clocked two minutes, one time) while four other damp children shivered in line behind her, waiting their own turns that would take all of 15 seconds each.
If I was the kind of mother I'd like to be, I would have asked her, before that third class, and perhaps halfway through it, and then again after it, if she wanted to keep taking diving, or if she was all done. She might have said she wanted out, she might have said she wanted to stay in. Who knows? Not me, because I didn't ask her. I didn't want her to quit. I wanted her to keep taking the class that I'd paid for, and I wanted her to participate, and I wanted her to obey her teacher and concentrate and do her best.
I wanted her to be a good girl.
But the thing is, I don't want her to be a good girl. I want her to feel free to change her mind if she makes a decision she regrets. I want her to do or not do uncomfortable things because they're her own choices, not because she's obeying someone else. I don't want her to feel like she has to be the most attentive, most diligent, most talented person in the class, in every single class she ever takes.
I might have stopped talking about her and started talking about myself as a kid there.
Now, how to combine these skills that I want my daughter to have with the skills of work ethic, good sportsmanship, and, yes, attentiveness and diligence that I also want her to have, I do not know. Does every parent stress this much about swimming lessons?