Pool merchandising: consumerism to prevent phobias. Chapter one.

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Coconut screamed and sobbed through almost all 25 minutes of her swimming lesson. Like uncontrollable terror. It was nice.

As I mentioned last week, she went under and swallowed some water at the very end of last week’s lesson. This freaked her out, but I didn’t realise to what extent. She was happy as a clam at the start of the lesson this week, but another preschool (3-4 year olds) group started lessons today, and coconut’s group was shunted from out of the shallow end into the middle bit of the pool, because they all did so well last week. The water is quite a bit deeper, but coconut can still touch bottom.

Cue the fucking sobs. It was horrible. I’m there on the side giving her big thumbs up and smiling so hard my heart breaks, I went to get her Bunny, she came over to cuddle my arm. Her teacher ended up giving her cuddles the entire lesson, carting Coconut around on her hip while she attempted to not let four other little kids drown. Props to her. She also told the other teacher that our kids’ class needed to swap back to the shallow end before Coconut had a coronary. She then let Coconut choose what kids would swim their laps next, culminating in letting Coconut squirt water at people. When little rubber ducks/etc were then handed out for helping to teach correct arm stroke position, Coconut was game.

She had a mild freak out when they did ring-a-Rosie at the end, the game that caused the water swallowing of last week (she was the only one brave enough to go under, and such a shame that her reward was a lungful of chlorine), but her teacher stopped the game to explain to everyone that they could just blow bubbles for the ‘they all fall DOWN’ part.

It took quite some time for her to calm down after the lesson. I should add that Snort took excellent care of her during the lesson, talking to her to keep her calm, cuddling her, waving at her, etc.

I think this weekend we will all go swimming together. Of course, she inevitably swallows water when we are around, too, and that usually heralds the urgent asking to go home. But I don’t know if I can stand 11 more weeks of this. I know if she could stop freaking out about the possibility of swallowing water again, she’d be fine. But much like the dreaded rope at gymnastics, I think her memory is long and her fear is longer.

I may try to figure out some sort of pool toy comforter for her. Like a plastic thingy that can sit on the side and watch her, that she can cuddle when she waits her turn. I was also thinking about trying to discover if there is some waterproof small animal thing that she can wear as a bracelet or something. Any suggestions very welcome!

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4 Responses to “Pool merchandising: consumerism to prevent phobias. Chapter one.”

  1. Alice Fraggle Says:

    What if she saw you or TMD swallow a bit of water and then be ok? Maybe a big burp afterwards would help (I always burp after swallowing pool water and still find it hilarious. I am stuck at age 4 I guess!) I’m feeling for Coconut though – I hate going underwater and being surprised when someone touches me or I swallow water or whatever. (I should add that I can’t swim – so there’s that.)
    I’ve been lurking for a bit, and only commented a couple of times, but I love your blog. I like that you share about your kids but keep out all the things you know they wouldn’t want strangers to know, and also that you don’t use their “proper” names. Just wanted to let you know.
    I hope you can figure something out to soothe the poor girl! Swimming is awesome, and I hope she can enjoy it again soon.
    Take care!

    • me Says:

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment. It has made my week!

      We will definitely be doing some underwater stuff this weekend at the pool. Inhaling water is her automatic if she goes under, so I figure practice at blowing bubbles or holding mouths shut may help….we shall see.

  2. Jess Collingwood Says:

    A quick Google search has come up with these adorable little bracelets. Quite cheap as well. >> http://www.lootybag.co.uk/products-page/christmas-stocking-fillers-2/animal-rubber-bracelet/

    Not sure if that’s exactly what you’re looking for but they’re so cute (the giraffe one is totally my favourite)! :) Hope she can get past this & enjoy herself again!

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