When my daughter switched schools this past year, I knew from the beginning that I wanted her to attend a camp this summer with friends from her new school. That would solidify friendships from the school year, and help her further develop language and social skills. Luckily, I found a camp that two of her good friends attend, and signed her up. I must admit that I was a little nervous about the dynamics of having three girls together in such a setting, but I trusted that, as they usually do, they would work out any problems.
I also found myself worrying more than I should have about a swimming test that was given the first day of camp. This test determined if the campers can swim and play in the deep end of the pool, where the diving boards and the water slide were. Since these are the pool’s main attraction for my daughter, I really wanted her to be able to pass the test. I had images of her not passing it and needing to spend the summer in the shallow end, with the little kids, while her friends played together in the deep end. I even took her to the pool the day before camp started and worked with her on passing the test- swimming from one point in the pool to another. While she had no trouble swimming such a distance in the deep water, she had a tendency to put her foot down briefly when she swam in the more shallow water. We practiced and practiced, and even got some hints from several lifeguards; take a big breath so your full lungs will hold you up, and use long arm strokes. By the end of the day, she could swim the length in any depth, and I felt better about her chances of passing the test.
I should not have worried; she is a good swimmer, and passed with no difficulty. One of her two friends, however, did not pass on that first day, and was temporarily stuck in the shallow end. Suddenly, the scenario I had dreaded for my own daughter threatened to play out for her friend. I gave my daughter several lectures that night that she and her other friend were not to leave that friend stranded in the shallow end, but to go play with her there. I wasn’t completely sure if she understood what I was saying, but she nodded in agreement.
While she could have spent the summer splashing in the shallow end with her friend, it turns out that she did something even better. When I picked her up the next day, she said that her friend had passed the swimming test, and the three could now all swim in the deep end together. I was very relieved to hear this.
It was not until the next day that she told me “I did what you did, mommy. I taught her how to swim and pass the test.” I am sure that the girl would have figured out how to pass the test on her own, but I am happy that the hints I obtained to help my daughter got passed on to another child who could use them. I know that my daughter is probably not destined for the Olympics, but I feel like she just won a gold medal in making friends.