As parents one of our jobs is to prevent our children from being afraid of the things we were; to prevent irrational fears.
I always enjoy going to the swimming pool, and I do like swimming, but I have a real fear of water in my face and I can't contemplate swimming underwater or even with the correct head position for front crawl. The minute water splashes up in my face, the fear kicks in that I'm not going to be able to breathe. And just as with every irrational fear, there is something that started it off. For me it was swimming with my dad when I was around eight years old, he left me on the side of the fairly shallowish water while he went and tried out the diving board and plunge pool (he's not the most responsible of people), but unfortunately the pool's wave machine was turned on during that five minutes and I lost my footing and went under. I remember every second vividly and I was petrified that I wouldn't be able to get up again. Obviously I did, but it was one of the scariest moments of my life and accounts for my claustrophobia and fear of putting my face in the water.
I don't want to pass this onto The Boy, and I try really hard to bite my tongue and assess the situation first before rushing forward to him. However sometimes I am aware that a little slips out, and there might be an occasional "let me wipe your face".
So going to a birthday party of a friend whose water confidence is first rate filled me both with terror and hope for The Boy's own confidence.
You can see the difference between the two boys: one has been swimming once since last September due to chronic glue ear in both ears (and even then that was probably only his tenth trip, at a generous guess), and the other boy has been swimming since he was a tiny baby. One has a few drops of water in his face and is rubbing the water out of his eyes, one has water pouring down his face. I'm not criticising my boy, it's just a stark contrast in the ability levels of both boys of the same age.
The Boy happily stayed in the pool for around thirty minutes before getting out to play on the bouncy castle, or with swing ball (playing a leftie is the easiest way of playing this!), and soon wanted to get changed back into his clothes.
Then after dinner, and once all the other party guests had left, both boys returned to play in the garden. Burton quickly stripped down to his pants and went into the pool, The Boy took a further ten minutes before he followed suit.
And this is what happened…
And then, after another hour or so, we end up with this:
And then the final shred of evidence that he is becoming the swimmer I'd like him to be?
We'll be going swimming this week!