My oldest son, who just turned 4, began swimming this summer alone in the pool.(While wearing a life jacket). He was so brave - jumping in, swimming to the deep end, having fun. It was amazing to see him swimming with no fear, from one end of the pool, to the other. I was so proud.
Then my sister got a pool in her backyard. We were all excited, and Christos loved watching the diggers and all the construction work going on in her backyard as the pool was being put in.
One day, as the men were working in the backyard, I was talking to my mom and Christos. I told them about this scary show I saw once about a girl whose hair gut stuck in the drain of a pool. She ended up drowning.
"So this girl was swimming in the pool, and all of a sudden, her hair got stuck in the drain! And she was trying and trying to get out and she couldn't! She couldn't breathe... couldn't move... she was gasping for air... and then she drowned." I said to my mom. And oops, to my son, as well.
The episode I'm talking about was either on Dr. Who or Twilight Zone. Probably Twilight Zone, although I don't remember for sure. (Remember that show?)
Yup. I said this in front of my child. The one who was not afraid to swim in the deep end, near the drains or jets.
Maybe I shouldn't have said this story while my son was around, because ever since, he will not swim in the deep end. He will not. He refuses to leave the steps. He'll swim around a bit in the shallow end, and that's it.
I gave my son a fear.
Of swimming. Even though he was NOT afraid of swimming a few months ago.
I gave my son a fear of swimming. I did this. Can you say 'bad mommy'? Because that is what I feel like. I have told him over and over again that the story was not real, it was just a TV show, that nothing will happen to him if he swims away from the stairs, that he will be fine. I demonstrate for him, by swimming in the deep end, going deep under water, and showing him I'm fine. But nothing. He will not move. He is frozen in the shallow end.
One step forward, two steps back.