Pool help?

OK, so Malka LURVES water. She loves sprinklers, the ocean, the sink, and up until last week, her bath.

She started swimming lessons last week. She sat on the edge of the pool, and giggled like all the other kids. I slid on in the water, and brought her to me. She was fine. For about 5 seconds. She screamed and clung to me the ENTIRE TIME. She would stop for about 30 seconds, to laugh at me blowing bubbles. But then she continued screaming.

I figured, hey, it’s her first lesson, most kids have “issues” with it, right?

Narda took her to her second lesson, wash, rinse, repeat.

That night, in her bath, I was able to amuse her by literally sticking my face in the bath, and blowing bubbles. She laughed, and then spent the next 30 minutes playing in the tub. Which is a HUGE shift, as lately, she’d be “all done” after about 5 minutes.

Last night, and tonight, for bath, she ran to the bathroom, all excited, got naked, but then flat out refused to get in the tub. Screaming, wailing, saying, no, no, all done, all done. I literally, got in the tub with her, just to get her clean. (it’s been hot AND humid here in NYC, so not bathing is not an option…)

Yet, today, at the children’s museum, she all but RAN to the water area, playing, splashing, getting wet. But as far as getting IN the tub? Narda had to help me.

The ONLY thing I can think of is that with other elements of water, Malka feels in control – SHE controls the water, and what it does to her, AND there’s a bottom. In the pool? NO BOTTOM (for a 34 inch toddler). Either that, or she’s having flash backs to the Mikevah – I really have NO idea.

ALL of the other kids in her swim class, even the ones who are ‘fussy” are OK in the water after a while. not Malka. I really don’t want her to grow up afraid of water. But the odd part is that she LOVES water. Just no the pool, or sadly now, the bath.

OY – any thoughts? Ideas? Similar experiences?

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7 thoughts on “Pool help?

  1. Noah is exactly the same way. Loves playing with water, talking about water, 80-90% of the time loves the bath. (We also went through a screaming no period around the bath a few weeks ago.) But a pool? Forget it! Five minutes of complete barnacle like clinging and trying to climb out up my head.

    I don’t have a big picture theory, but for the bath issues, here’s what I think. Toddlers get so little control over their lives, that sometimes when there seems to be any room for it, they can somehow tell and go for it.

    Like you, we haven’t generally felt like skipping the bath was a good option (hello southern humidity!), so we’ve sometimes had to make it a 2 mom job, over as fast as possible.

    I just hope this phase passes.

  2. Do you have a pool that you can go to that has steps or a wheelchair ramp in or something similar? Or maybe there is a pool somewhere that has water at a depth where she has to stand up, but her feet still touch? Maybe she could get used to the idea that water gets deeper if she does it in smaller increments?

  3. She may just need time, especially if she enjoys water sometimes.

    I mostly stayed in the shallows as a small child and occasionally let an adult take me into deeper water. When I asked (much older than Malka), my dad taught me how to stick my head underwater. It was a big deal for me to feel confident with that. Then I learned to float, on my stomach and on my back. Finally, one day, when I was 6, I decided I was ready to “swim”. My dad told me to float with my face in the water and then kick. I did. I was swimming. After that, my parents sent me to swimming lessons and I wasn’t afraid. I learned to swim really well and soon they had to drag my blue-lipped self out of pools and oceans and lakes. I think I just needed to feel ready and confident. Maybe Malka will get there in her own time?

  4. My daughter did the same thing. The pool really scared her for some reason. Luckily for us, the YMCA teacher was great and just threw Sabi on her back to float while she instructed the rest of the group. I had to enroll Sabi in the 4 week class 3 times until she finally got over her fear and started to attempt to swim on her own.

    Now…she is a fish…she screams when I make her get out!

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