In two weeks’ time, my very, very nearly 3-year-old is going to be separated from me. This is the boy who arrives in my bed every night and attaches himself to me like a rucksack. He’s the boy who demands to be carried up and down stairs – unless it would involve relinquishing the iPad. Every trip out (no longer with the buggy) poses the risk of carrying three stone’s worth of child along with all the shopping. But in two weeks’ time he has his first swimming lesson and, unlike every other visit to the pool, Mummy or Daddy isn’t going to be in there with him. He is going to be floating on the Sea of the Unknown.
Praise be for free trial sessions. The sense of impending doom makes me thankful that there’s no need to pay for a term upfront – I fear we may as well put a wad of cash straight into the pool filter. Perhaps I should have more faith; after all, my son happily relinquishes the maternal apron strings to go to nursery. It might not be so bad. But then I remember every Monday morning when I have to carry him throughout a whole pre-school music and movement class as he bellows at me to stop singing and dancing. In my mind, the calm blue surface of the pool transforms into a thrashing, stormy black mass of water.
And then there was the little boy I used to watch (biting my nails) whilst my older child had her lesson. Dressed by his parents like a surfer dude, it became clear that any activity involving water was not going to elicit any hint of a ‘cowabunga’. He was the one who used to bawl throughout the class, his screams echoing around the pool leaving parents visibly wincing. The only child that the swim school had to confess they could do nothing more to help. Let that not be us. Please let my son not be the second child to be cast out back onto dry land as a hopeless cause.
I must banish visions of the swimming teacher peeling my little man from me as tears stream down his face and the pool resounds with cries “I WANT MY MUMMY!”. I keep telling myself that he’s perfectly happy with water and swimming pools. And, as he keeps telling us, he’s a Big Boy now. Maybe Mummy should just get a grip and have faith that he’ll slip into the water like a Merman on that fateful day. He may glance back to check we’re still by the pool, but then he’ll flick his tail and splash into this Sea of the Unknown. Failing that, one should never underestimate the power of a new Spider-Man swimsuit …