Posted by: Hannah | 09/26/2013

Ron teaches

Today did not get off to an auspicious start.

I haven’t been sleeping very well. I’m going to Blissdom Canada next week, and while I’m very excited, I’m also getting increasingly anxious with each passing day.

One really negative thing I’ve noticed about being an exclusively stay-at-home mom for these past three years is that my anxiety levels have gone way up. Stuff that I used to do with hardly a second thought – like booking travel or packing a suitcase – is terrifying, just because I don’t stretch my physical boundaries much. In an average week I:

  • stay home
  • drop Louis & Pixie off at preschool
  • take George and Ron to swimming lessons
  • go grocery shopping

I know it’s  bad, because I’m on a first name basis with most of the staff at my grocery store, but I only get out for a coffee date with my closest friend every couple of months. Some of this is because I lead a hectic life, but some of it is because of my anxieties, which are irrational but persuasive.

And so, I’ve been fretting. I’ve asked dozens of people if I can fly domestically with only a driver’s license because I don’t have a passport (you can, but I keep asking, in case one outlier gives me a different answer). I laid awake one night for an hour and a half wondering which shoes to take (very silly, I only have three pairs in total, and I can’t wear one pair at all thanks to a bad bout of plantar fasciitis I’m slowly recovering from). I broke out into cold sweats two days running when I was registered for individual sessions at the conference in case I didn’t get the ones I wanted, oh god, what if I’ve spent all this money and disrupted everyone’s schedules just to get stuck listening to ‘life coaches’ telling me how to ‘get my feet in line with my heart’.

Inside my head, I’m still about 60 – 70% convinced that something is going to happen to prevent me from getting on the plane.

I’m scared.


Regular readers will remember that Ron has had a multi-year battle with his fear of the water. He loves wading and splashing, and he loves the idea of swimming, but put him in a pool and ask him to lift his feet off the bottom and he panics. Every time. We kept putting him in the gentle preschooler classes in the hopes that the low-pressure environment would eventually make him comfortable.

No luck.

This fall he aged out of the preschooler classes, having never progressed past “Salamander”. We had to sign him up for Swim Kids 1. A scheduling snafu later, he ended up in a very small class, with just one other boy his own age, and a male teacher.

Last night the teacher took them over to the deep end. He wanted them to jump from the side to a pool noodle floating easily within reach.

The other little boy did it. And Ron stood on the pool deck and burst into tears.

I don’t know what the teacher said. I couldn’t hear him. But Ron stopped crying. He tried sitting on the pool deck and sort of slithering into the water one leg at a time. The teacher stopped him, made him stand… and suddenly, Ron jumped.

He came up spluttering. He grabbed the noodle. “Now we’re going to kick hard!” said the teacher. “We’re going to swim all the way back to the shallow end! You can do this.”

And he did.

I watched him. He put his face in the water. He practiced his front rocket ships. He tried floating on his back and while he was obviously uncomfortable he did try very hard. When he came out of the pool he was exhausted, but his pride was a visible thing, stamped on every line of his face and body.


If he can do it, so can I. Even though I am scared.



  1. I would love to know what the teacher said to him!

    • Me too! Although it probably wasn’t magic words, even – it was probably because they were coming from NotParent.

  2. Such a similar experience with Oldest. We wasted hours and $ on group lessons when he was 3 then 4 and made no visible progress towards even putting his face in the water never mind his head under or lifting his feet off the bottom of the pool. Finally in exasperation we paid for a set of 4 private lessons. He was in the pool all of 10 minutes with his first private lesson and suddenly was putting his head under and “swimming” an extremely rudimentary crawl (his feet were of the bottom of the pool). He was so proud of himself and we were so relieved. No idea what that teacher said to him, but it worked thank dog.

    Things seem to be going similarly with Youngest so we are probably going to do the same set of 4 private lessons to (hopefully) get her going and feeling confident and then move back to group lessons. Learning to swim is so important, I just want it not to be traumatic. Sigh.

    • Tell me about it. We lost a year when he was 3; he was in a class with three boys who were VERY rambunctious and loud, and he told me he was scared he would drown and the teacher wouldn’t notice because of all the splashing. He ended up making it through three lessons before he threw screaming hysterics in the change room once and that was the end of that.

      We’ve got George in tot right now, and oddly enough he loves the scary stuff – going down the waterslide by himself and jumping off the pool deck, NBD. Blowing bubbles in the water? NO WAY LADY.

  3. You can totally do it. I’m going to be there with you, telling you to get your feet in line with your heart.

    Honestly, it is scary going out of your comfort zone but just remember Ron and JUMP. Also, we’ll have wine, so no worries.

    • I kind of feel like someone should alert the branch of the LCBO that is closest to the Delta Meadowvale. They made need to stock up.

  4. Good for him!

    I know anticipatory anxiety is hard (I have it, too), but you’re going to have so much fun with so many kindred spirits. Does it help that I’m jealous?

    • Anticipatory anxiety! YES THAT IS IT! That’s exactly it. Once I’m there, I’ll be fine. Better than fine, probably. I wish you could come, too. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen you, my friend.

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