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Madeleine has been taking "pretend" swim lessons in our living room for about a year now. This summer the timing finally worked out so that she could do the real thing in a real pool. We signed her up for a three week session at the public high school with other 3-5 year olds. Before she began, she'd been in a pool perhaps 3 times in her life.

She loved the water as soon as she entered it for her first lesson, although it took the teacher two or three days to coax her to put her face in the water. For most of each half hour lesson she would be laughing and shrieking with delight so much that she couldn't keep her mouth closed. Consequently, she inadvertently drank a lot of chlorinated water.

Despite a bit of trepidation that first week, by the second week she was regularly jumping off the diving board into the deep pool! The first time she did it, she first had to endure the anxiety of watching a 5 year old boy cry and scream for several minutes as he stood in anguish at the end of the diving board before he made it into the water. As I watched the drama unfold I thought, "No way is she going to jump now." But she climbed up the ladder after him, walked carefully to the end, and without hesitation leapt right off into the teacher's arms. She continued to do it several times each day for the final five lessons. She cried after her last time because she couldn't do it anymore. When Paul took her to one of the lessons, he heard her teacher bragging to a male instructor about her little girls who were jumping off the diving board already while his "big boys" were too scared to do it yet. Another day I watched as one of the male instructors prepared to catch her below the diving board. Someone shouted to him, "Back up! She really jumps!"




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