I was informed by your swim teacher that she thinks you may be bored. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming but hearing the words totally bummed me out. You have loved swimming for so long and I feared that one day you would have had enough and want to stop. I don’t blame you – even as passionate as I was about swimming, even I needed a break every now and then. Still, the words hurt. I have taken you to swim practice twice a week for little over a year now and it was something I could bond with you over. There were times I’m sure I let my imagination run a little rampant and I envisioned you as the fastest three year old freestyler or winning your first gold in the Olympics. Ok, my imagination went batshit crazy but what parent doesn’t envision nothing but greatness for their child? Every parent knows the potential in their children is limitless and it’s frustrating to watch your child give up. I think you are giving up. You were enjoying yourself as long as you could tackle what ever it is the teacher was showing you but recently, you hit a wall. You’re learning arm strokes and it’s proving to be quite difficult for you. Instead of tackling the problem head on, you’re deciding swimming is not for you. I’m ok with you taking a break from swimming if what you need is a break.
I really don’t want to force you in to anything but I’m torn when I feel the lack of interest is due to low self confidence. I don’t want to shove swimming down your throat because I’m aware it’s my passion – it’s my dream, not yours. I’m not going to push you in to a direction that is not truly yours but it hurts when I feel totally helpless in trying to find a way to make you see that you are capable of anything. You can do this but you’re stopping yourself short. I know, I know – a bit too heavy for a three year old but when does it stop? If I allow you to quit after everything you deem difficult, where does that put you when you’re an adult. Do I have to go all Tiger Mom on your ass to get you to finish anything or do I take a backseat and let you steer yourself which ever way the wind blows? My dream of having a superstar swimmer may be short-lived but I still have hope for your brother – you know, the one who is scared of water.
Recently, I have discovered that when you’re not teasing or beating on your brother, you’re actually a wonderful older sister. I have entered your bedroom in the morning to wake you both up only to find you sitting up in bed, reading Miles a story. On other occasions, I have witnessed the two of you sitting quietly on the floor as you point out pictures to him in a book. How wonderful it is to see that you two are capable of actually surviving in this world simultaneously without one of you trying to kill the other one off. I sometimes feel that you do a better job teaching him things – he actually listens to you as opposed to me. When I try to teach him something, he wanders off aimlessly at the sound of my voice. I can’t get him to sit still unless I have snacks. I have noticed that if Miles is crying hysterically after I have reprimanded him, you occasionally will come to his aid and offer him a few words of comfort – “it’s ok buddy” followed by a hug. This warms my heart and at the same time, makes me feel like the evil witch mother in movies – you know, the ones where the kids have to stick together against their torturous life-sucking parents. I’m really not that bad, am I?
We just took you and Miles to your first baseball game and I can proudly attest it was a life-altering experience for you. You were happy when you discovered you could scream like a banshee and not get in trouble but when you discovered that people walk around selling ice cream and cotton candy and lemonade – it was like you were finally seeing life for the first time. Anytime someone walked by, you would lean in to me and say, “oh Mom, I need that ice cream.” “Oh, that cotton candy looks delicious.” “Mom, I love lemonade.” It was so memorable for you that you have added it to your daily play here at the house – at any given time, we can hear you pacing the halls saying, “ice cream, get your ice cream here.” Yes, destiny has found you in the form of a minimum wage concession donkey.
I’m fairly certain that I created a monster in you with the amount of pictures I have taken over the course of your life. Instead of just giving me a smile when I tell you to say cheese, you now give me a plethora of every expression you can muster in that little body. Suddenly, picture time has turned in to a photo shoot. You now demand compliments when you get dressed or finish brushing your hair. You walk in to rooms now fishing for praise; “Isn’t my hair shiny?” “Don’t you think this dress is the prettiest dress you’ve ever seen?” “Watch me as I drink my milk. See, wasn’t that amazing?” Whom exactly am I raising here? You have developed an interest in standing in front of the mirror perfecting facial expressions and you enjoy talking in a southern accent. I might be mistaken but I think someone has a knack for drama. Lord help us.
I am noticing a subtle maturity from you lately. I know my expectations may be a little high sometimes for a three year old but I often forget between the quips, singing and conversations we share that you are only three years old. We had a little distance between us for awhile but we’re starting to come full circle again. Life gets hectic and I have to remind myself to take those moments when you ask me to sit next to you on the couch to watch the same episode of Fresh Beat Band again. I know those moments are few and far between and I know there will come a time when you don’t want me to sit next to you – you already don’t allow me to sing and dance in front of you. Until then, you can give me as many ponytails as you want but you have to promise me that you won’t give up on things when they get a little tough. You may resent me one day for pushing you but dammit, I will not have a child that can’t swim or ride a bike. You may have mother issues as a result of being pushed but that is what therapy is for. You’re welcome.