Monday, June 15, 2009

Conquering Fear

This was a big weekend for us. Each of the kids made huge progress conquering their fears at the swimming pool.

It all started Friday night. We went for our usual evening swim, only to find out that the pool was sponsoring a Flick & Float -- essentially a drive-in movie right at the pool with night swimming until 11 p.m.

I asked the pool director what movie they were showing. In one word, she became my sons' favorite person.


So, Friday night was spent swimming and cuddling in sweatshirts and beach towels to watch a great film.

But... back to the fear. As we were walking from our seats over to get into the shallow end, my three-year-old daughter was looking at her brother instead of watching her step. She walked right off the edge into the water.

I jumped in after her and pulled her out, but not before she had quite a shock. She cried more out of surprise than actual hurt, and as I comforted her, I stressed again that you have to watch where you're walking when you're near water!

When she calmed down, and the pool director was sitting near us making sure she was okay, I told her, "Congratulations! You just jumped into the pool for the first time!" Through the tears, she gave me a high-five.

What a trooper.

She was a little clingy afterward, but once we were back in the shallow end, she was too busy making friends with other girls to worry about clinging too much to me. I was relieved, but thought the jury's still out on whether or not fear of the water will kick in.

Saturday was a busy day with chores and church. Sunday, we were the host family for coffee and donuts for the parish, so I spent equal time serving people and making sure my children didn't gorge themselves on donuts.

As the weather turned hot, I pulled my husband aside. "Do we have time to go to the pool again this afternoon?" I asked. He smiled. Of course.

So, off we went for another evening swim. I held my breath as my daughter approached the water. Her brothers had struggled for years against water fear, but she was our little mermaid. The boys still only swam with a noodle or lazy river ring, even though they had the mechanics of swimming and floating down pat. I worried we would have the same struggle now with our daughter.

Then she smiled at me and jumped right in.

I was thrilled... And I wasn't the only one who noticed how brave she was. Her six year old brother told me he could jump in, too. (Although he never had before.) A minute later, there he went! So did my oldest. The boys and their sister spent the next hour climbing out and jumping in, with no worry about getting their faces wet or getting water up their noses. They just laughed and had fun.

Then came the real shocker.

My oldest came out of the pool to put his lazy river ring by our seats. "I'm going to swim without it." He said matter-of-factly.

He jumped in.

And he swam!

He didn't need any help or support. (Just an attentive audience and plenty of praise, which I was happy to provide.) I was so proud of him. Better yet, he was so proud of himself. He positively glowed with confidence.

He said to me, "Mom, I know why I couldn't swim before, but now I can.
F - E - A - R
. I don't have it anymore."

"That's right," I said and returned his grin.

Check one fear off the list. My boy is growing up.

- Midwest Mom


  1. FANNNTASTIC! My son, who got us kicked out of every mom and tot class ever offered, screamed his way thru swimming (til they kicked us out!) but later became an excellent swimmer/diver - go figure!

  2. Glad to hear there's no more fear--one less thing to worry about this summer, right? None of my boys were ever afraid of water, but I felt for the parents of those who flailed and screamed bloody murder.


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