One of Bear's friends hosts a grand sleepover at her family's camp every summer. (In Maine, a lake cottage is called a camp. It took me my whole first summer to figure that out. I just thought I was meeting a lot of weird people who went to summer camp with their kids). Her friend's brave, brave mother not only has a passel of girls spend the night but also invites their families to come spend the next day at the lake. She is what you might call a saint.
Hey, how many preteen girls does it take to paddle a canoe? Three. Two to paddle, and one to beat off the pesky boys with a swim noodle. Naturally.
The first summer Bear went, she was seven. She was so timid that, even wearing a life jacket, she was barely willing to dog-paddle out to the float. Once there, she sat terrified on the float while her friends leapt willy-nilly into the lake. Now she's an old hand, and I watched her swimming to and fro, leaping not only off the float, but the dock, and, at one particularly random point, out of a canoe. Which didn't seem to serve any purpose that I could see. But, hey. Not judging.I helped Bug into her life jacket, but she stayed uncertainly in the shallows.. Despite swimming confidently in pools, she wasn't too sure about swimming out to the float with the other kids. (I'm thinking we've been watching a few too many "Monsters of the Deep" documentaries on the Discovery Channel).When her sister sailed happily by doing THIS,
"OK, I guess I'll try it. Except I don't know how to paddle, so...no."
I dragged a kayak into the shallows and helped her climb on it. Positioning the paddle in front of her, I showed her how to move it and what to do to turn. She easily demonstrated both skills, then said, "I don't know..." and started to waver. At which point I grabbed the back of the kayak and shoved. I mean, yes, there's a point where you need to hold your kid's hand and let them take their time, but there's also a point where you teach them what they need to know and then push them out onto the lake.
She LOVED it. At first I would only let her paddle halfway to the float and back until she was comfortable maneuvering the kayak. Soon she was able to go out and around the float. By the time we left that afternoon, she was confidently paddling three camps down the lake and back and begging to go farther.
We also went tubing that afternoon, but since I took...um...quite a few photos that day, I haven't had time to photo-edit them all. Tubing will be another day's post. (Fine, 1011. I took 1011 photos. And that's my brother's fault because he bought me the super-big capacity memory card. I don't have a problem or anything. Really).