We are in our second week of swimming lessons. Antalya and I registered for a two-week parent and tot class at the community pool. Antalya has never had a fear of water - quite the opposite, in fact. She loves being in water so much, that even the sensation of drowning is fun to her. She will happily throw her face in water, come up choking and coughing from swallowing so much, and then do it again if we don't stop her.
It has been an interesting experience for me. It has brought up some of the sensitivities I have been feeling for several months about how other people perceive me and the actions of my daughter. For example, I wonder if the stranger at the park thinks I am an awful mother because Antalya likes to chew on the wood chips (yes, I know they are not only a choking hazard, but also very unsanitary, but try as I might, Antalya only sees them as oral stimulation), or if the person in the passing car thinks I am cruel to put a harness with a leash on my daughter when we are in the front yard playing, or if the family sitting next to us in church wonders why I haven't taught the importance of reverence to my daughter, the list goes on and on.
Going back to swimming lessons - for some reason being in the class has helped me come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what anyone else may think. All I have to do is focus on doing what is right for my daughter - knowing that the expectations I set for her are different than what other parents have set for their children. I don't expect to understand what it is like for another parent to teach their child, just as I don't expect other parents to understand what it is like teaching Antalya. All that matters is doing the very best we can given our own set of challenges.
Has Antalya mastered as many skills in the swimming class as her peers? No. But that is alright. She is still doing amazing and I am surprised at how much she has learned in just a few short lessons. I didn't go into the class expecting her to master swimming to the side of the pool by herself. I knew my expectations would be different than the other moms in the class. Gratefully, I can now feel at peace over the expectations I do place on Antalya, knowing that it matters very little how other people perceive it.