We had our first swim meet of the fall season today.
And this year, Number 7 made her USS swimming debut and swam in her first serious, legit swim meet with Numbers 3, 4, and 5.
She was the only 4 -year-old in the meet. She is just a couple days from her fifth birthday, but still.
She’s pretty young.
But she also loves it.
While she loves it, Number 7 is definitely a chip off Number 4’s block, so you never know what each day (or hour or minute) will bring with her.
She was very excited to swim , but these meets can be a little overwhelming. They are loud and crowded and crazy. And while she’s been to many, many meets to watch her older siblings, I just didn’t know how she’d react.
I remembered back to Number 4’s first few meets.
She also loved being on the team. But she spent the first few meets freaking out, crying, and refusing to swim. Back then, four or five years ago, I would try just about anything to get Number 4 to get in the water for her events.
I know better now.
It’s not the end of the world. If Number 7 had a freak out, I wouldn’t try to force her or bribe her or get frustrated.
Sometimes kids need time.
So I hoped she’d decide to swim, but I was kind of prepared for her to panic.
She couldn’t wait to get into the pool.
Walking into a meet with her big brother and sisters and her own swim bag (which is almost bigger than her) was a dream come true for her.
She breezed through warm up.
So far so good!
She got right up to the blocks for her first event — 25 freestyle (one length of the pool).
She swam with no problems, and she did great.
She had an awesome time coloring and playing with her friends while she waited for her next event.
Her second (and final) event was the 25 backstroke (one length of the pool again).
She was so excited to go that she jumped in the pool while the thirteen-year-old boys in the event before her were still swimming their race.
A timer (who thankfully knows her) pulled her out before they could come back and run her over and before she could mess up their race.
I was sure that would push her over the edge and she’d be in full-on freakout mode, but when I went over to see her behind the blocks, she was totally fine and ready to go.
When it was actually time for her to swim, she hopped right back in again.
The starter’s BEEP went off, and she was on her way.
About half way down the pool she was ahead of at least half the 6, 7 and 8-year-old girl she was swimming against.
And then at about the 3/4 mark, she stopped, grabbed the lane line, and shook her head “NO!”
She had reached the f*ck it stage. She was done.
Everyone in the place was cheering for her to start back up again, but I knew it was of no use.
Once Number 7 makes up her mind, nobody, not me, not Number 4, not the Easter Bunny, not even Santa will change it.
It took Number 4 diving in, swimming down to her, and escorting her over to the side to get her to even budge.
I pulled her out, and she sat down in a chair.
She was okay. She had gotten a mouthful of water and it scared her.
So I sat her in a chair and I went back to the other side of the pool where I was coaching and watching team.
Five minutes later, Number 7 was having a blast on the side of the pool with her friends.
Twenty minutes after that, she dropped a whole container of Boggle dice all over the deck and one of them flew into the pool.
So that was the end of the Boggle.
About a half hour after that she was cheering with such fervor that she fell right into the pool while a race was going on.
One of the other coaches yanked her out, and she went right back to cheering people on.
Life with Number 7 always keeps you on your toes.
After we got home from the meet, I asked her, “Did you have fun today?”
“YES!” she said to me.
“What was your favorite part of the meet?” I asked her.
I anticipated she’d say, Playing with my friends! or Cheering for Number 4! or Finally getting to be down on deck with everyone else!
And then she answered.
“Mommy! My favorite part was definitely swimming the backstroke! I AM SO FAST AT BACKSTROKE!!!”
Huh. She also choked on water, didn’t finish her race, and had about 200 people wondering when the hell she was going to get off the lane line and out of the pool.
But like I said, life with Number 7 is never predictable.
I don’t know exactly where this swimming journey with her is going to take us.
But I definitely think it’s going to be a fun ride.
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