Jake has always loved the water and has never been afraid. We went to a new friend’s house to swim in June and he was so excited! He hadn’t been in the water but a few minutes when Jake went under water, unexpectedly, and couldn’t stand up. He panicked! He did this about three times. Each time I helped him stand back up and he smiled and began playing again. The bottom of the pool was vinyl, he slipped causing him to go under. I finally realized what was going on and put his shoes on him so he could play and not slip. Jake is a toe walker and grips with his toes and there was nothing for him to grip. He seemed unfazed by this at the time. I thought he might cry or something but he didn’t. He kept on playing. Later he talked about how much fun he had at his friend’s house. But the next time we went swimming he was scared to death. He screamed and cried and told me he didn’t want to be there. I immediately registered him for a few private lessons to help him get over his fear of the water. He clung to instructor for dear life and screamed much of the time. Jake didn’t like his swim lessons and every time before his lesson he would tell me he wasn’t going. I would just say “we are going.” By the last lesson he was going under water and jumping into the pool, with the instructors help. The first time we went swimming after the lessons ended Jake didn’t want to go and begged me not to take him. I told him we were going and we would just sit on the steps. He repeated “we just go and sit on the steps for 1 minute and then we will go home, right?” I told him no, that we would sit on the steps for 15 minutes. When we got to the pool he said he needed to rest and wanted to sit in the chair. Again I told him that we would sit on the steps in the water. He sat on the steps and we ended up staying for about 30 minutes. The next time we went to the pool he walked around in the water and realized he was okay. He practiced what he learned in his swimming lessons and stayed a little longer.
This past week we met some of Jake’s kindergarten friend’s for a swim party. It was the first time since the beginning of summer that he walked right into the water with no fear. Allie played with him and tried to help him swim. He watched his friends jumping in the water, going under and swimming around. He loved seeing Allie go under the water and she worked with him, helping him see he could go under the water too. He finally gained enough courage to go under and came back up with a huge smile. He was so proud!! It took a lot for him to overcome this fear but he did it and I was proud of his determination. I was thankful for his patient big sister that was willing to get in the pool with a bunch of 6-year-old boys and play with her brother. I am sure there were other things she wanted to do but she jumped in and helped.
I have a video but because I don’t have the premium account I can’t really post it here. If you jump to my Facebook page Our Journey with Jake you can check out Jake going under water by himself 🙂
As parents sometimes we have to push our kids to do something they might not want to do; due to pure stubbornness or in our case, fear. It is SO hard for me to push Jake especially when I see there is true fear. Although Jake is pretty verbal we are still working on expressing our feelings. He cries and says he doesn’t want to do something. I can ask him why and sometimes he will just say no. Other times he will say he will talk about it later which usually translates to ‘I don’t understand what my answer should be’. Jake was afraid of the water, I could tell by the look on his face. Other times Jake is afraid to try something new just because it isn’t in his “normal” routine of things. There have been times he wants to try something but just can’t push himself to do it; like swimming. He needed us to sort of push him in so he would see he is safe and that he can do it. And he did!!
I had expectations of Jake learning to swim this summer. I had envisioned that he would take swim lessons and would be swimming on his own by now. But that didn’t happen and it’s okay. At least we are back to where we were in May and he seems to enjoy the water again. Sometimes I get caught up in my own dreams for Jake that I forget to expect the unexpected. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I’m learning too.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Hebrews 6:19