Xander has issues with separation. In fact, we are in the process of having him do some work to deal with severe separation anxiety. Anything new, unexpected and...well, sometimes even stuff he knows about and is fine with can create a massive meltdown. Over the last six months we've had problems with having the babysitter come over, us going out, drop offs for soccer camp (that one took 2 hours to remove him from my legs the first day), concerts, and school.
We've also had issues with swimming lessons. I got to be that mother who dragged her screaming kid to the pool every day for lessons this summer (he did 2 four week stints over the summer). It was horrid for all of us.
Xander has taken swimming before. In fact, he's been at it since he was 2.5 years old! However, he did have a bit of a scare over the summer, where he went under for a split second and Daddy didn't catch him.
Last spring we had a series of private lessons with Peggy. Peggy refuses to hear the word "can't" at swimming. She's a motherly type and coaxes a bit, but with firmness. Xander likes her and trusts her. So, this fall, when he ended up with Peggy as his instructor, he was over the moon (let's not talk about the one day when Peggy's son was sick and we had a replacement instructor, since it could have been worse...much worse!). And Peggy was excited to have him too.
It turns out that although Xander is reluctant and takes a while to warm up to swimming, he is doing fairly well. He's swimming front stroke and back. He glides well. He jumps in like crazy and...surprise, surprise!...he loves to dive in. Peggy gets very wet teaching Xander and his classmate Zach. And she laughs doing it. She thinks they are a riot.
Today Peggy had great news: the boys were going to jump off the diving board for the first time.
Xander was not happy. It was new and scary. He didn't want to do that. He had every excuse in the book. And Peggy just said, "You LOVE to jump in and I never let you do anything you can't do. I am always there for you." They did their first few things in the deep end of the pool. Diving, swimming, gliding. And then they got lifejackets on and jumped off the side of the pool. It was all great.
Then it was time to jump off the diving board. Xander went first. He shook and trembled a little as he walked out. Held tight to the silver handles, then cautiously let go and inched his way across the board to the edge. He listened to Peggy and put his toes over the edge of the board, took a breath, made a grimace.....AND JUMPED!!!!
The first thing he said when he surfaced a moment later was: "That was FUN!!!"
Ha! Sometimes trying something new is a great thing. Sometimes there is fun in it.
Good work, Xander!