‘Gee she’s a handful.’
That was my thought this afternoon. Another Monday, another swimming lesson. Baby girl was in the lane with another girl and two boys.
4 this week. It was full.
I watched her as she splashed deliberately when the teacher drew near. She jumped up and down repeatedly, bobbing into the water wholeheartedly, her entire head disappearing from view.
When they had to push off from one side, she took off prematurely, and the teacher, for what I observed was about the 6th time that day, said “baby girl, go back, not yet.”
The others kids stood there – taking off when requested. Sitting patiently. Responding when spoken to.
And here baby girl was, kicking her feet wildly as other kids swam up to her end of the lane, giving them a good mouth full of foam.
She was a handful.
I watched her – silently praising the teacher for being so calm, while I was also alert, waiting for baby girl to look over to me up at the benches, so I could wag my finger at her, and tell her to listen to the teacher by pointing to my ear.
She didn’t look.
I thought about her character. I looked at the other kids. She was so full on! She couldn’t sit still! Sure, she was a tad younger than them, therefore their maturity was perhaps a tad more advanced…
But why couldn’t she just, listen?
Wait a minute, I suddenly asked myself. What was she doing wrong?
She was swimming…. YES.
She was listening… YES.
She was partaking in all of the swim class activities… YES.
She was being nice to the other kids… YES.
So then why did I feel a need to shush her? Stop her? Keep her still?
I suddenly realised, I was wrong.
I didn’t want to do ANY of those things to her.
Baby girl, is BOLD. The world will try to dim her light as she grows up, just as it does so for everyone else.
Why should her Mum then be adding to that shadow?
So what if she shrieks a little too enthusiastically?
So what if she is splashing all over the damn place (it is a bloody swimming pool)?
So what if she takes off too early because she is too keen and loves swimming too much?
I want my girl to have a voice.
I want my girl to be passionate.
I want my girl to be expressive.
I want her to have fun.
And she achieves all that by being BOLD. Loud. Flashy. In your face.
And I realised, so she should.
Why should she live in the box? Adhere to the straight and narrow. Tell me… what has the ‘straight and narrow approach’ ever achieved?
I want her to nurture the fire in her belly, promote that kick in her step, and move forward through life knowing she can do and say and be whoever the hell she wants.
Without anyone wagging their finger at her 😉
And if that means being a splashing, loud and over-enthusiastic child, then SO BE IT.
I sat there smiling for the rest of the class. And when the teacher put her hand up high at the end of the lesson for the kids to try reach it for a high-five, when baby girl launched at her and water spray went everywhere…
I giggled and put my hand over my mouth. World, watch out.