This summer we have been spending A LOT of time at the pool. Given the propensity for high temps that summer has, it has only been logical that we will spend most of our time in the water. Also, since it's a pool only for our community, we usually have it to ourselves. It's been great.
At the beginning of the summer, my kids had no pool toys, my daughter would barely go on the steps without me and there was a lot of bickering and fighting. It made the pool so. much. fun.
When we had gone a few times and invested in some pool toys, the water became more fun. Also, when I stopped getting in the water to meet my little wannabe mermaids demands, she was forced to to find other people to be her minions, I mean playmates. Given as we were the only ones at the pool, that usually left her brothers.
Now, brothers are great. They really are. They have shown our little miss how to be tough. She can hold her own on the playground and she knows the difference between legos and mega blocks. Brothers also hold a certain persuasion over younger siblings in that they can convince their younger kin to do things a parent may not be able to. This can cause some fear and trepidation in a parents heart. Because the younger sibling wants to be included with the older kids, they may try to do things the parent doesn't believe they are ready for. Or the brothers might not be as gentle and kind in their instruction as a parent might be. Or they might do something crazy like cajole a timid pool goer into being a swimmer.
At first I told the brothers to back off with the pool instruction. Because I knew my little miss was scared. But then I realized I was not doing any child a favor. I was telling my boys they weren't good enough or kind enough or sweet enough to be their sister's teacher. I was telling my daughter that she should be scared of the water and that she shouldn't try new things if they scared her. Those are NOT the lessons I want my kids to have. So I backed the helicopter right out of the pool area.
I let my boys lead.
Sometimes this was thru withholding their big brother attention. Sometimes it was thru bribery. But whatever the manipulation tool was, my daughter went from being a timid water sprout to being a baby dolphin in about forty-five minutes. Looking back this had taken course over the last few weeks. But it seemed to happen quickly. I was so proud of all three of the kids.