Learning fun lessons about my kids while experiencing our first swimming lessons

Today was the girls first swimming lessons, and from the looks of things they’re falling in line right with their personalities.  Except, not really.

Riley we’ve always known is the rule follower.  I could tell as I watched her listen attentively to the directions of her swim instructor, intense, hanging on her every word.  She almost seemed to derive a kind of pleasure from being on-task.  So when it came her turn to demonstrate the initial move from class, she was ready to go and popped back up out of the water with a thumbs up to us standing on the sidelines as if to say, look, I did exactly what I was supposed to do.  I performed perfectly.

Olivia on the other hand didn’t even bother to wait in line to hear the directions.  She sized up the situation and decided early on that she wanted no part of the actual class.  She ran crying (ok, actually screaming) to us on the sidelines when she realized that swim lessons actually involved touching water and being away from us.  Side note, I’m not sure how I felt about the fact that parents are only allowed in the pool area on the first class and no more after that.  For the next 6 classes we have to watch from behind a glass window outside… I mean, am I being just too clingy or is this a bit much?

Back to the point, it’s funny because Samantha and I always assume that Riley is really the one we will have to cajole to take risks and be courageous.  Olivia, on the other hand because of her strong independent streak we assume would be much more adventurous.  Thus far, it hasn’t always played out that way though.  When it comes to trying new things, Riley is much more likely to do it, even though she’s like me and values consistency, stability, and predicability (yes, she eats the same fruits and foods all the time just like her dad). Olivia on the other hand seems to shrink from new moments.  Maybe it’s because she’s still young (she just turned 3).  Or perhaps there’s some comfort Riley finds in being a rule follower that allows her to take new risks.  After all, most of her new risks come with guidance and directions, so perhaps she has all the structure she needs.  Who knows, we’ll see how it all shakes out.

Here’s another fun tidbit- afterwards when we were leaving the rec center, RIley remarked in the van that she likes it when we’re proud of her (this was after her mother and I told her that we were proud of her for being brave today in swim class).  I definitely think that one’s a people pleaser, while I suspect Olivia doesn’t place a lot of emphasis on pleasing other people (if she did she would have stayed in the pool! lol).

In the meantime, I’ll keep watching that young one.  Something tells me that she’s due for a break out, as soon as she figures out her schema for embracing new things around her just like her big sister apparently already has done.


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