Monday, July 29, 2013

Swim hard Fish!! Swim hard!!

My husband was a swim team kid. His drawers are still filled with the T-shirts from his invitationals that are ratty and decades old. He is 31 and is still a proud Gridley Gator.

When Fish reached an age where she could finally be on the team, I just wasn't ready. Swim team is a large time commitment in the summer. You have practice all week, invitationals on the weekends, meets during the week. None of this is water play so you still have to do your normal summer allotment of fun pool time. Lots and lots of work for a mommy who has other kids too. So I convinced him to wait a year. I will now admit that was my mistake. We should have started her at 6 instead of 7.

I read a lot of parenting books. All of which told you how to raise a healthy baby or child. Foods to help brain function and activities to stimulate comprehension. 

What they don't prepare you for is raising your children to succeed in the competitive world they were born into.

 No one ever told me that you had to start everything at such young ages. No one told me you should sit in on classes to choose the right teacher for your child. And mind you I don't live in a bustling metropolis. I live in a small country town in Northern California.Which I think is sometimes more difficult for my children. 

I didn't grow up in this town. We moved here and have some family here. A lot of families have lived here their whole lives and they have roots and circles that stick together. So the added pressure of the competition is getting your child involved so they are recognized (hopefully they are recognized for positive traits).

Fish getting ready for the backstroke

Fish has had a super busy year, full of positive highlights. She got to spend the night in the mall with 200 girl scouts to kick off cookie season. She metaled and got ribbons at the Hershey track meet. She hosted a tea party to celebrate the girl scout birthday at our house. Over 20 girls in full glam showed up. Then there was dance recital, baseball has been a busy 7 months. 

Even though we have kept her super involved. I feel like I am missing something. I don't see her making a lot of friends. She keeps trying to break into these tiny groups that aren't really interested in letting her in. And she is not competitive like her dad. She doesn't get aggressive in her sports or activities. Which is difficult to watch because she is good at so many things. Her dance teacher tells us how easily she picks up dance. She has real talent in soccer. But convincing her to focus on those things is really hard. She basically wants to just make friends. Part of what kills me is how badly she wants to be noticed. She wants to show every person she encounters her metals and ribbons. It is never enough when we tell her how proud we are. I don't know if all kids are like this. Are they?

Swim team was rough. Micah never really got in the pool to teach her strokes and technique. I think he just assumed she would naturally take to it. I saw a huge improvement from the beginning of the season to the end. But her efforts were always half hearted. At her last swim meet I think I upset my in laws. My mother in law said "I think she is just trying so hard that she is getting confused" I was really bothered by this. Because it was an excuse for her lack of effort. I know my child and I know she wasn't trying at all. It's ok if you don't like a sport and don't want to do it. Just tell me and we won't keep making you do something you dislike. But she really loves swimming and she liked being a part of the team. So why wouldn't she try her best? 

So here is my question. How do I convince my children to be more ambitious and competitive....without turning them into jerks? What can I do to convince them that they need to be proud of themselves first? Parenting is rough