Lucy Learns to Swim

Welp, I totally missed Lucy’s birthday post this year. Which is kind of a mom fail but also a mom win because we were on vacation and I spent the whole day with her at the pool instead of writing something on my blog. So there’s that.

Anyway I was going to just skip the blog post because I have like 14 loads of laundry to do but then I remembered that I spent almost 3 hours last month creating her birthday video so I have to write something as an excuse to share it.

This year has been a big one for little miss Lucy. Mostly because she’s not really little anymore. At “three-quarter” years old she is 38″ tall, close to 40 pounds and (almost) fully potty trained. She shares most of her clothes with Mia and talks in full sentences, although her toddler accent still requires frequent translation. Her little personality has grown leaps and bounds, too.

As an only child it’s strange for me to watch my two girls grow up together. I marvel every single day at how incredibly different they are, despite their shared genetics. And although everyone cautions you against it, it’s pretty much impossible not to assign them their own personality traits – the funny one, the athletic one, the love bug, etc.

Lucy has always been my mama’s girl. She is sweet and sensitive and funny and experiences everything in life to the fullest. When she’s sad, she is DEVASTATED, and when she’s happy, her joy is absolutely infectious. Unlike her fiercely competitive, stubborn and determined big sister, Lucy has little tolerance for anything that doesn’t immediately “spark joy.” The girl knows what she wants, and especially what she doesn’t.

But this year, I saw something in her that I hadn’t yet seen. And it happened in a swim lesson.

Every year during our vacation in Florida, we do swim lessons for the girls. It started 3 years ago, while we were sitting at the pool with then-two-year-old Mia and watched a swim instructor take a screeching toddler from terrified of the water to swimming the width of the pool. We were in awe and I immediately walked over and asked if she had time to give Mia a lesson. She agreed and penciled us in for the next day, but cautioned us that part of her method involves pushing the kids past their comfort zone, and that almost all the kids cry and it can be difficult for parents to watch. We had just finished sleep training Mia so I was pretty confident I could handle 30 minutes of listening to her cry.

In the end, Mia never shed a single tear. She was focused, determined, and wildly proud of herself after conquering the width of the pool in just two 30-minute lessons. We were stoked, and not all that surprised.

A year later Lucy came along, and then a year after that she was ready for lessons. I knew right away she would be the screamer of the two – and she was.

Lucy gave “Coach Becky” (as Mia calls her) a run for her money but they pushed through it and by the end of the week Lucy was floating on her back and swimming a few feet to and from the wall of the pool. Unlike Mia she loathed her swim lessons. While Mia counted down the minutes and asked if she could do multiple lessons in a day – Lucy would cry as soon as we mentioned them.

This year it was even worse, mostly because Lucy had more fully developed lungs and was capable of screaming even louder. She screamed bloody murder throughout the entirety of her first lesson. The only time she wasn’t screaming was when her head was being held under the water (yes, the lessons are intense but there is a method to the madness and it works).

And then on the third day of lessons, which also happened to be Lucy’s third birthday, I saw something I hadn’t seen in her before. She became fierce.

I could tell that she wanted to cry, scream, and at one point she even tried to run away. But Coach Becky pulled her back, talked her off the ledge (literally) and regained her focus. Lucy wiped her tears, grit her teeth and took a deep breath – and then she jumped in and she swam! She went from refusing to take a bath without her floaties on to swimming across the pool in one week.

It’s not that she did it that surprised me. I knew she could and I knew Becky could teach her. But it’s how she did it. Determined, focused and so incredibly proud of herself in the end. I saw a grit and determination in her that I hadn’t ever seen in baby Lucy. Watching her work so hard literally made me cry.

My baby isn’t a baby anymore. She’s a strong, capable, determined little person who knows what she wants, what she doesn’t, and how to push through the tough stuff. She is funny and sweet and sensitive – and a force to be reckoned with. She is our Lucy Bear, and this year, she learned to roar.

Happy number three Lucy!




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