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