IPGMFTAYGTEI – or “I paid good money for this and you’re going to enjoy it!”

Snickollet has a haunting post about what she calls ME, or Misplaced Expectations and IYGIOIAO (If You Give in Once, It’s All Over). She is referring to parents who beat themselves up when a planned outing, large or small, doesn’t live up to what we expected of it, and the whole issue many of us wrestle with in setting limits for our children. I won’t attempt to recreate what she says here (click over to read it instead!), but I’ve been thinking about this a LOT over the weekend. I have come up with a corollary to these two syndromes, which I’ve given the horrendous alphabet soup acronym: IPGMFTAYGTEI

Belle is taking swimming lessons. Due to a scheduling error on my part, her current session is on Friday afternoons at 4 pm. This means every Friday I have to leave work early (by 3:20) to pick her up at school, take her to the Y, and then watch her half hour lesson. Both girls were previously taking them on Saturday mornings, but the whole baseball/ice skating thing got in the way (don’t ask!) and swimming had to move. Krystal doesn’t really need lessons at this point, and she’ll swim everyday at camp starting up here in another two weeks. I really, really want Belle to have some confidence in the water, and learn a bit at the same time. I am of the opinion that everyone should know how to swim – it’s a life skill like tying your shoes, riding a bike and sewing.

Anyway, Belle talks about swimming a lot during the week. Then once we get to the pool she has to be coaxed in. Not so unusual in a four year old, right? OK, and I’ve got no beef with that. But this time she perched herself on the top step and refused to go down into the water. The instructors all tried luring her in, using their sunshiny teacher voices. She was having none of it. I whispered to her that it was time for swim, and stepped away. Nothing. One of the teachers whisked her into the water, spinning her around, hoping this would make her laugh. Nope – it made her scream!  So the instructor put her back on the steps where she immediately scrambled back to the top.

At this point I’m noticing the time slipping away – it’s only a 30 minute lesson. I’m getting all worked up because:

  1. I paid good money for this and you’re going to enjoy it! (or at least participate for crying out loud!)
  2. I had to leave work early for this
  3. I have no idea how to fix this!

I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. I went over to the step and led her off to the side where I gave her a stern talking-to and I honestly could barely focus on her face I was so angry. Whatever I said ended up working, because she did get in the pool and had a fine 17 minute lesson. When it was over she was as excited as always, asking, “Did I do a good job?”

Yes, but Mommy didn’t. Need. More. Skills. And to learn to let go of ME, IYGIOIAO, and IPGMFTAYGTEI.

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2 responses to “IPGMFTAYGTEI – or “I paid good money for this and you’re going to enjoy it!”

  1. We had the same problem with the Queen for dance lessons. The teacher was a 30-year veteran teacher of kindergarten, as well as dance, and she and I agreed to let the Queen go screaming into the room, I would leave, and she would deal with her. Of course, as soon as I was out of sight, she was fine. Swimming is a bit different obviously, but in our case, we just let her scream and when she figures out it’s not working, she stops because it’s too much trouble. Good luck.
    (And remind me I said this later – we’re going to try to find some swimming lessons somewhere this summer.)

  2. I had one child who was a fish, one who froze when he got into the water. He did swim team for me one year (of course I didn’t realize at the time it was for me) and was absolutely miserable. What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. (G)

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