Today we had some company over with two young children. I found myself in the pool for around an hour and a half with a four year-old girl who wanted me to teach her everything about swimming. I finally got her to try the back float and she finally relaxed enough to let go of my neck and lay back in the water with my hands supporting under her knees and back. She was wearing a life jacket, but she wasn't really ever fully testing its ability to hold her up. I think next summer she might be ready for swimming lessons, but let me tell you by the time we were done I was pretty tired!
She is very inquisitive, and very strong willed as well, but she has good parents and she is going to be going to JK this September. Before she left we went for half-an-hour at the park with her younger brother. Getting her to walk back required a mother with a stronger will and some good child psychology advice. It reminded me of Christina when she was two and she would often want to go on the slide five more times after I said it was time to go. But I would just tell her we had five more minutes, which is a hard concept for a two year old to grasp.
I can't really imagine parenting a child like that and always keeping two steps ahead of her, plus caring for a younger child with his own needs and vulnerabilities. I think a mother like that deserves some kind of medal of honour! I am so glad she has her husband who is a good father, and they present an united front.
It certainly makes me think about the challenge of raising children... they are harder to raise than plants and you can expect to keep training them until at least eighteen...only, your tactics will have to change along the way. Also they are extremely precious and very fragile, until they grow stronger and then you have to slowly let go, and eventually you hope they are actually launched!