So, Murphy's had three swim meets now. The first two I couldn't attend because I stayed home with Harlie and Cooper. We thought it would be way too difficult with them in the crowd and chaos of a swim meet. But, this time I really wanted to go and thought we could try taking the kids to see if it could work. I hoped Murphy would have a good meet and I wanted to be there to see it happen!
As it turns out, Murphy has some sort of performance anxiety or something. The swim meets completely stress him out. When I asked him about it at bedtime one night he told me that he feels like he's going up on stage and everyone is watching him and he doesn't like that. We've tried everything to help him feel more comfortable. We've told him till we were blue in the face that it isn't a race against the other kids for him. It is a race against himself. We don't care how he places in the meet. We just want him to make it across the pool without touching the rope or the bottom - and we want him to have fun. That's it.
When you touch anything - you get disqualified, so you don't get a time. Which means we can't show him how to race himself. At this point, we just want him to get a time so we can show him how his times compare.
There are only six meets this summer. And last night (Monday night) was his third meet and the first one at our home pool. We were hoping that being in his own pool would help him feel more comfortable and less stressed. No such luck.
And the whole touching the rope thing has us so frustrated! To recap on that... he CAN actually swim the length of the pool without touching. He just touches anyway. No matter what we've told him, he still touches during swim team practice. However, when practice is over, he will do it (since they remove the ropes after practice). So, I told his coaches that he has actually made it across the pool, several times.
At Friday's practice, the head coach got in his lane and when Murphy touched, he picked him up and carried him back to the start and told him to try again. Murphy touched the bottom that time. Again, the coach picked him up and carried him back to the start and told him to try again. Apparently, Murphy was able to figure out that he was going to work a lot less if he just swam to the other side without touching - and did it with no problem. I really thought that was a turning point for him. And I really, really wanted to see him make it across in the meet on Monday night.
He was so scared. But we were all standing on the other side of the pool from him and he could see us. He dove in and made it a little more than halfway when he touched that darn rope! Ugh! No matter how much I was willing him not to. But he kept on swimming and didn't touch again. Had he not touched the rope he would have come in fourth, I think (I think there are eight lanes). Afterwards, Tom told him how great he did and how proud of him he was. I was a little confused since he touched the rope. But then Tom told me that during the last two meets he touched the rope like 15 times and came in last! So, only touching it once (and not being last) was a huge improvement.
I really, really hope that at tomorrow's practice he doesn't touch that darn rope. I need to ask if all the coaches could make him start over when he touches. That seemed to get the best response out of him. He certainly understands the difference between doing things the easy way or the hard way.
And even though having the other kids there was a ton of work, it was worth it. And we're all going to go to the next three meets. Hopefully, he will get a time for each one. Oh, how great it will feel when he overcomes his fears and feels some success of his hard work! His ego totally needs the boost of doing well at a meet.
His next meet is Tuesday night, July 5th. I am hoping that at tomorrow's practice he doesn't touch the rope. With a few days of making it all the way across consistently, I think the meet will go so much better. Have no fear, I'll let you know how it goes.
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