Now there were plenty of times that Mike requested that I stop scarring the poor child for life. And he probably had a valid point, but I truly believed she was afraid of the unknown more that she was afraid of the pool. As I've mentioned before it's not a huge pool, but definitely a lot more water that Maya is used to in our bath tub. I am certain she didn't realize that she would be able to stand up in the pool and not have the water be over her head.
In the beginning she would be in hysterics just from having to put her bathing suit on. So I abandoned that idea and instead left her in her clothes. I started by dipping her toes in. I would dip, she would shriek at me and clutch at my clothes, but eventually I got her to this stage....
I left her alone for a few days. Let her have some fun by splashing her arms around in the pool. I knew it was time to move on to the next stage when she started trying to scale the side of the pool. For a few days she enjoyed having me hold her on the top rail so she could dunk her feet in. Periodically I would lift her off and dunk her into her knees or waist with more shrieking and clutching from her.
Then a couple of days ago I got in the pool with her and sang endless rounds of froggy froggy dip dip. And we dipped in to our toes, knees and tummy. Which, surprisingly enough, she enjoyed. For her next torture session, it was into the baby boat. The baby boat is basically an inflatable ring with a seat attached to it and leg holes. It was a bit of a struggle, but once she was sitting in there she was okay. And before long she was begging Abby to go faster when we were pushing her around the pool in it.
After two days of hanging out in the baby boat she started leaning over the side to get her bangs wet. That, to me, was a sign we needed to move to the next and final level. I pulled her out of the baby boat and put in her in the pool. And.... you guessed it... she shrieked. And tried to scale the side of the pool. I enlisted Abby's help and between the two of us we managed to straightened out Maya's legs until the touched the bottom. Once her feet were on solid ground it was like someone had flipped a switch. The shrieking stopped. And she smiled. Abby, ever the encouraging big sister, let the neighbourhood know that Maya had DONE IT! And we cheered and celebrated and Maya smiled one heck of a big proud smile. She even let me put the water wings on and then we walked in endless laps around the pool. Me on the outside she on the inside, water wings in place and holding my hand.
After about an hour of alternately walking and standing still holding onto the rail the goose bumps started popping up. She was getting cold, so I hauled her out and..... you guessed it.... more shrieking. She wasn't ready to get out. And what's a girl to do when they're mad at their Mommy? Call Granny and complain of course....
And that's the story of how it took Maya a month to get in the pool.