Monday, September 1, 2014

A Year Older

The physical therapist had suggested a group physical activity, in order to increase Raphaela's self-confidence in a group setting.  The Talmud states that it is the parent's supreme responsibility to teach a child how to swim, literally a matter of life and death.  I figured that we had taken a break from swimming lessons, and I love the water:  I had worked for many years as a lifeguard at a lake near our house in Boston.  Since  Raphaela has shown so much maturity this Summer, why not try again.

I found a class down the block from our house, and the director of the swim program seemed quite efficient and understanding of the psyche of young children.  We arrived at the pool this evening, Raphaela spent ten to fifteen minutes rolling around the floor, explaining that she refused to go into the pool because she did not like the ladder;  it was one of those ladders that perhaps seems scary because it is carved in the side of the wall.  Then when she finally agreed to go into the water, she held onto the instructor Anna for dear life, practically choking the poor woman; after screaming, "This is too hard, too hard!, she was eventually asked to leave the pool.

The director of the pool swimming classes suggested that (a) perhaps Raphaela is too young for lessons or (b) perhaps we need to start with a series of private one-on-one classes to help overcome the fear or (c) I should randomly take Raphaela to the pool with me and "play around" and blow bubbles until she increases her comfort zone.  In any case, I await his call.

On the way home, Raphaela asked me if I was angry at her, if she was going to get a punishment. I assured her that I cannot be angry at her if something scares her, but that I would be quite disappointed if she doesn't even give new experiences a try.  I told her that very often, things do not go your way the very first time, and you must push through failure in order to get better and have that satisfaction of knowing that you overcame your fears.

"But I want my life to be easy.  Easy EASY.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!"

I reminded Raphaela that for example, when she was a baby, she didn't know how to walk.  And that when she decided to start walking, there was lots of falling and mis-steps.  And that if she had given up on walking, she would not be a big girl today, a girl in Kindergarten who can walk and run and jump and skip and hop and climb ladders and dance.

Then I asked Raphaela if she had any ideas about what she wanted to be when grew up.  She immediately answered, "A soldier and a doctor, and a doctor for soldiers and animals."

Mommy:  Those are wonderful goals.  Do you think it is hard or easy to learn to be a doctor?
Raphaela:  Easy.
Mommy:  Nope!  Mommy had to work very hard and learn a lot of things and take a lot of tests to become a doctor.  I work hard every day too.   If you want to be a doctor some day, and I am sure you will make an excellent grown-up, you will have to work hard.
Raphaela:  Why?
Mommy:  Because if you give up and don't try, you will never know what you are truly capable of.

Raphaela was quiet on the way home, and when I tucked her in tonight, I looked her straight in the eyes and told her this story:  "Mommy really wanted to be your Mommy, and I went to the hospital and ate healthy and exercised and prayed to G-d, asking for the most special and wonderful baby Raphaela.  It didn't work right away, it certainly wasn't easy, and I kept asking G-d to help me and I cried a lot, but I kept trying, I never gave up.  Because if I had said, 'This hurts too much, this is too hard,' if I had stopped trying, I wouldn't be the luckiest Mommy in the world right now.  And I am so glad that I kept trying and finally got my dream."

Post-script:  Tomorrow afternoon we are scheduled to scope out a pre-ballet class. Oy.

1 comment:

koshergourmetmart said...

you really handled that well with RR. yishar kochech