Monday, 17 August 2015

on being brave



Alistair is a feisty little boy, adventurous and courageous. His approach to life is 'lets do it now and think later'. With water, he takes a more cautious approach.  When he first came to live with us, he had never been swimming. He did enjoy bath time and generally seemed to like water. After a few tentative trips to the swimming pool he seemed ready for more. Alistair started going to swimming lessons but it was not much of a success. He is so skinny that after five minutes he would start shaking uncontrollably. He rarely stayed for an entire lesson. The swimming lessons were abandoned but Richard continued to take him swimming for fun. Not often, but often enough to keep water interesting. He was still bothered by the cold and was generally very clingy. Alistair did enjoy Swiss outdoor pools when we were on holidays there, probably because the sun was so hot, he didn't get cold. Unfortunately, we can't offer him this experience in Scotland. Three years after his first swimming lessons, Alistair asked to go back. We ignored the request until it was repeated often enough to be taken seriously. I didn't much look forward to the drama of 'cold' water, lukewarm showers and running out of the classes but to my surprise Alistair is loving it. He jumps into the pool, likes diving for treasure and is learning to swim. He is wearing a wet suit to stay warm. That's the pool mastered.

Open water is a different story. When we went to Cornwall, Alistair would not go in the water at all. I think he finds the waves and the soft sand a bit unpredictable. Imagine our surprise went he said that he was going to jump of the rocks at high tide. This is something the kids like to do when we are in Portscatho. The beach nearest to the campsite is very small and is mostly inaccessible at high tide but the surrounding rocks are great for jumping into the water. 

We were all secretly laughing, feeling fairly certain he would not jump. This was, after all, not a pool with clear blue water and a visible bottom but the sea at a depth were an adult could not touch the ground. He proved us all wrong. Watch him (all 6 seconds of it):



The cold water took him by surprise and he was howling like a wolf. Later, wrapped in a triple layer of towels, snuggled up on my lap, Alistair felt proud (but he didn't repeat the jump). No doubt he will eye up the diving boards next time we go to Switzerland...

Coincidentally, I also jumped from the rocks. Just like Alistair I chose the lowest ones. The cold water stopped my breath for a moment and I thought my chest would explode. The drop was shorter than my body height but it was scary. Just as well there is no video footage :-)
 
It is nice to witness such milestones.The experiences are adding up, shaping Alistair's personality. Learning to overcome anxieties when still being protected by mummy and daddy is a great way to learn dealing with anxieties later in life.  Upward and onwards!

Have a lovely week! Cx

25 comments:

  1. Brilliant, well done him, it's great when they surprise you with such bravery isn't it. The wetsuit is a great idea, mine used to have one for swimming when they were small, it made a huge difference. Now he's done that jump his confidence will no doubt grow and grow and there'll be no stopping him. CJ xx

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  2. Simply wonderful to see children grow in confidence and especially in the warmth and security of family. Every step a springboard for more!

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  3. how wonderful, there's something about jumping into water that is liberating I think, my children did lots of it on holiday, even the girl who is terrified of heights loved the splash so much that she conquered her fear of standing at the edge. her mother did not......

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  4. Hey Christina,
    It may be the post wedding hangover I am currently enduring, but this has moved me to tears. Having met your wonderful children, and spent time with Alistair (who by the way stole my heart a little), I can quite understand how significant this milestone is. Olly is not nervous by the sea, and is actually a bit of a worry. He does not enjoy swimming lessons, and we have abandoned them for the moment. But children will let you know when they are ready. Although I'm still waiting for Alfie to tell me when he will be ready to eat fruit and veg without threats ;))
    Have a lovely week yourself, my friend.
    Leanne xx

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  5. Well done Alistair!!!!!! He is growing to be such a great little - probably not so little! - boy! I am sure that the support of a great Mum and Dad, brothers and sister are all bringing him and James to life in the very best possible way! I can understand his reticence to repeat the jump - I would have struggled to do it in the first place - but you must be so proud and he must of himself for giving it a go!!! Just wonderful! Brings a smile to my face and even more so to yours!!! A great thing and a lovely start to my week too! A reminder to keep being brave!!! xx

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  6. I can really empathise with Alistair and his swimming. I grew up only being able to swim the breaststroke but with my back problems I was told the best exercise to help me was swimming. DH used to go to the pool with me and try to get me to swim with my head in the water which terrified me. One day it just clicked and now I can swim the crawl properly for hours at a time.

    Alaistair has done really well. Unfortunately I couldn't see your video but it was lovely to read about it.

    Have a great week. Barbara xx

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  7. He did so well!! I can assure you that I wouldn't be jumping off any rocks!

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  8. Oh that's lovely, well done Alistair you must be very proud of him, definitely onwards & upwards x

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  9. Oh Yes!!! It is such a buzz to overcome a fear and to do something you thought you couldn't do!! Well done to Alistair, and may he go from strength to strength! What's the next challenge?

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  10. Great stuff, lovely to read of kids making big steps, swimming is one valuable skill mine all learned when they were toddlers thank goodness :-)

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  11. How wonderful to see his confidence grow, surrounded by the love of his family. Great steps, onwards and upwards.

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  12. That is really terrific, Christina. He must be proud of myself and I can tell you're proud of him. Both of my children love to swim and started swimming lessons early. It was something I always wanted to do for any children I had because I never had lessons and was quite fearful in the water. It's wonderful when children have the chance to get over their fears and learn to enjoy what they used to be afraid of. Good job, mom. :)

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  13. Way to go, Ali! Isn't it wonderful how bravery grows in a child.?? He just needed time and a bit more maturity ( and some more bodyfat!) and he was comfortable giving it try. A victory for you, too, I am sure!

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  14. Well done Alistair!! Looks like you all had fun jumping off the rocks :)

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  15. Well done Alistair! How wonderful that he has ended up in such a wonderful loving and caring family.

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  16. Well done to Alistair! I don't think I could have done that jump into the water myself. He's really one brave boy. Well done! X

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  17. Good for Alistair! It takes so much strength to overcome these fears, the only way is up :) x

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  18. This is fabulous! Well done Alistair and how lovely of you to let him try and then comfort him afterwards, he is so lucky to have you xx

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  19. Well done to all of you! Very brave of him indeed.

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  20. That is so brave! :) What great fun too xxx

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  21. That is so brave! :) What great fun too xxx

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  22. Oh well done Alistair! I have to confess I got a tear in my eye when I watched the video clip. How awesome that he has you and your husband there, cheering him on and supporting him.

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  23. Well done to Alistair, what an awesome name as well... I think that all children do things when they are ready and sometimes, it has to be their idea! I know all 5 of my kids all learned to swim at different ages, my niece is 10 and only started swimming! Oh and your little man is gorgeous!!
    Have a great weekend!
    Tammy x

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  24. Fantastic achievement! I am scared of water and could not jump off rocks for anything. Well done to Alistair, fantastic x

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx