Ally believes she's invincible. She rides rollar coasters, boasting all throughout the line about how brave she is. The fact that her "braveness changed" about halfway through the ride had no visible repercussions. That one ride was too big for her, but that fact didn't carry over to any other ones. She climbed right into the seat (cage, really) ready to be turned upside down 50 feet in the sir with no hesitation at the next carnival she went to. Her favorite ride at the state fair last year was the Gravitron. And she was so very sad that they didn't think she was tall enough to go on some of the other ones. I was relieved that it meant I didn't have to go with her. She discovered the waterslides at Kinght's Action Park last year, and I doubt she'll do anything else if we ever finally make it there this year.
Anya, on the other hand, is very cautious. She doesn't like to swing high. She is afraid of falling off. She didn't want to go on a 2 mph boat ride at Branson. MO last year. I had to drag her on screaming and crying. But after being dragged into it, she embraces fun whole-heartedly. We went on that boat ride at least 5 times and she still talks about it occassionally. Anya likes to watch Ally try things, and make sure that she doesn't kill herself before she'll even consider joining her. And Ally's survival doesn't even always convince her. Last year at the state fair, her favorite ride was the cars that go around and around (and around). I had to pry her off me to get her to ride it the first time, but she probably rode that thing 20 times. At Branson she wouldn't ride anything except the ladybugs. Calm and safe is the way to go.
So I wasn't at all surprised when she refused to go down a slide at the Bloomington pool a couple weeks ago. In the past, she's gone down short waterslides before (and loved them), so I figured she just needed some convincing. She screamed her fool head off when I tried to put her on it. If she had known any cuss words, I definitely would have been hearing them. So I gave up. Ally slid down that slide 50 times, and Anya played in the shallow water at the base and observed. After telling me in no uncertain terms "I'm never going down that slide. Never, ever, ever." And she didn't.
Barely a week later, we ended up back at the same pool. Anya and I headed down to the water, while Ally peeled off to go to the line for the slide. Then Anya stopped and turned around to follow her. I asked where she was going, and she said "to the slide" like it was the most natural thing in the world. She stood in line until her turn, sat down and just went. With a smile in her face. She got to the bottom, and her face was lit up. "Mom, I got over being scared!" And like everything else, once she tried it, she couldn't get enough.
Ally of course, wanted to go on to bigger and better things. So we did. Much bigger. And she loved it unreservedly. And Anya was happy to stay right where she was while Ally tested out the waters for her. And survived.
And because of that, when we found ourselves at the Robinson pool this weekend, Anya climbed the ladder all the way to the top and without any hesitation whatsoever, sat herself down on the waterslide. And proceeded to get tossed about. She ended up on her belly, coming down headfirst. She just didn't weigh enough to keep herself upright. But, of course, we were there to catch her, and she had her big sister to look up to, and she climbed right back up. And the same thing happened. Rob and I both went down with her on our laps a few times after that, but she tried it one more time by herself too. And this time she ended up on her belly feet first, with water hitting her in the face most of the way down. I was so proud that she had the courage to try it. And when it didn't work out the way she'd planned, she tried again.
Ally went down, and we caught her a few times, and then she managed to catch herself. The water was deep enough that she went under, but she found her footing and made it on her own. She chased and held lightening bugs this weekend (BUGS! ew!). She wanted to bait her own hook, and even touched the worm, but it was just a little beyond her still. (I don't blame her a bit). She held a toad that her dad caught for her.
My kids are learning to challenge their boundries and move forward. And everytime I see them take a step in that direction, my heart overflows so much that it hurts. I'm so proud of them. Every step they take brings them closer to growing up and I can't wait to see what's next for them.