In Over Your Head...
Zoey failed Sea Otter. She didn't really care, nor did she even really know that she did. She got a piece of paper just like everyone else, and it was covered in stickers, just like everyone else's. She's three, what's she care? She doesn't. So when it came time to register her for swimming lessons in the summer, they offered no Sea Otter level at the pool we were taking her to. "That's okay, she can do Salamander. She'll likely fail, but so what. It's every day and she'll get a lot more comfortable." Sounded good to us. She's three, what do we care? But some people do, oh my, do some people ever care.
Just a few weeks before Zed was supposed to start her new lessons, at an outdoor pool -- every day for two weeks -- we ran into one of the parents of one of the girls in her last swim class. She urged us to get back in touch with the centre, and that they were offering summer lessons after all (they weren't planning on it initially), and that Zo could still register. She'd pass her levels there because the instruction was better. She should be a legitimate Salamander.
First, no she shouldn't. She didn't like dunking her head under water, and she wasn't all that great at the one meter front floats. She didn't pass Sea Otter because she didn't do all that was required. Done. If she's going to pass a level we want it to be legit. This isn't shot putting, it's swimming. The one sport where you can die if you don't get it right.
Second, we don't care what level she's at. We just want her to swim good, and to swim confidently...and to really swim. No leaning on life jackets, googles, and floaties...just swimming.
Her new teacher is incredible...so very attentive and good. Zo's the smallest, youngest, and obviously, least experienced in her class, but she's having fun, and her boundaries are getting pushed, and if she fails, she fails. No biggie. She's learning.
Parents are freaks? Three and a half year olds don't much care. I'll hang out with the three and a half year olds...they're in it for the right reasons. Salamander schmalamander. Zo dunks herself now when no one asks, just for fun. In the end she'll still get a piece of paper full of stickers, and that'll be the coolest thing ever for her, which is cool enough for us. Well, that and the head dunk thing.