Evie traditionally does not like to put her face in the water. She gets this from Sara, who also doesn’t like putting her face in the water. I love to swim and put my head under the water, so I don’t really understand it, but there you go.
In order to help Evie get better in the water, we signed her up for swimming lessons. Swim class was a constant in my life for many years, conversely, Sara never had swimming lessons. So we thought maybe this could explain our differences of opinion when it comes to water. In any case, just having more opportunity to be in the water is probably the biggest help to becoming more comfortable in the water. And swimming is certainly a more useful survival skill for a kid to learn than ballet or music.
Evie has made remarkable progress in terms of her comfort level with having her face in the water, but it is probably due more to the fact that we make her practice her swim class “homework” of putting her face in the bath twice a night. As this is something that she doesn’t like to do, it sometimes takes a little encouraging in the form of Sara and I sticking our face in the bathwater.
It quickly became obvious that I couldn’t care less about putting my face in the water, since I often held it under for much longer than necessary, blowing bubbles and goofing around, while Sara was not super thrilled about it. You can guess from which of us Evie demands quid pro quo.
The other night, in an effort to spend as little time as possible under water, Sara decided to just dunk her face in as quick as possible. Unfortunately, she…shall we say, misjudged the depth of the pool. She slammed her face down hard and fast, eliciting a loud *CRACK* from her nose when it struck the bottom of the tub.
Almost immediately, the bridge of her nose swelled red and purple and started to bleed.
Right away, Sara thought her nose was broken. There was much speculation on whether the nose was crooked, or just lopsidedly swollen. She had swelling and a persistent headache for about three days, and continued to bleed from the pores on the top of her nose. She now maintains it was never broken, but I’m not 100% convinced. Her breathing was never impaired, so whether or not it was actually broken is sort of academic, since there’s not much a doctor could have done for it anyway.
Nose breaking aside, Evie has really developed a love/hate relationship with swim class. She gets so excited about going to class, practically vibrating with it as we approach Friday. At the same time she makes bold proclamations like, “I HATE swim class” or “Friday is the worst day of the week because of swimming”, even while she’s dancing around in anticipation (specifically, “It’s fun to swim at the Y!MCA!”).
Watching her at class is both heartwarming, and heartbreaking. There are other kids who are better at swimming, but nobody that tries harder. Evie doggedly puts her face in the water time and time again, even without being told, despite body language that clearly indicates she would rather be doing about anything else in the world (such as slamming her face on the bottom of a bathtub). Whenever she gets done with her turn in the water, she immediately turns toward the windows for a little encouragement from me, even as she’s spluttering and wiping the hated water out of her eyes and looking like she’s about to break into tears. But she’s gone from refusing to put her face in the water at all, to holding it under for 6 mississippis in the bathtub.
She might never enjoy swimming, but I have no doubt that at some point she’ll do it anyway.