Yesterday Will launched into a declaration of the things he likes, unprompted by me – although I quickly started taking notes. Here’s the uninterrupted script of what he said for no reason as we sat down to dinner. I didn’t do anything but nod as he rushed through the list – until he mentioned that he didn’t like candy and I looked at him in disbelief. Which prompted him to revise his statement as you’ll see:
“I like apples, I like bananas, I like pears, I like oranges, I like milk, I like water, I like playing with Owen, I like being nice, I like my Will cup, I like Uncle Graham, I like people, I don’t like kidding, I like playing with Owen, I like giving stuff to him, I like eating crunchy carrots, I like drawing pictures with daddy, I like playing baby, I like playing at school, I like flying kites, I like drawing picture frames, I like putting all my pictures on a big board, I like studying stuff and drawing them, I like to discover stuff and learn something new, I like beans, I like all healthy stuff, I don’t like candy…. only once in a while I like candy, I like helping mommy, I like helping mommy help find out what Owen is saying, I like folding clothes, I like helping mommy cook.”
The list ended there. I loved hearing what he liked. But he definitely didn’t declare “I like swimming.”
And about an hour later Will was sitting pool-side trying to work up the nerve to join his class on his third day of swim lessons. He’d gotten a bit of water up his nose on day two, and it had destroyed his confidence as a wanna-be swimmer. We negotiated way too much about it, he cried when I’d abandon him to talk with his teacher and finally he just joined Owen and I for the true beginner lesson in mostly shallow water. Suddenly Will was having a blast, and he even got bold enough to join his class for all of five minutes before retreating back to toddler land.
On the way home, I was secretly exasperated. And Will was declaring that he would stay with his class the whole time next lesson. “I love swim lessons!” he said at one point. Go figure. (Today’s declaration though: “I don’t like swim lessons.” Lucky for him, today’s lesson got rained out, so we went puddle jumping instead. Now we have the weekend to help Will rediscover a love -- or tolerance -- for swimming before lessons resume.)