“Of course in my day, we just used to chuck them in the water and waited to see if they’d sink or swim,” said my Grandmother, with an unnerving twinkle of nostalgia in her eyes.
I am sure there were many enjoyable aspects to being a child of the 1930s. In my mind’s eye they include blackberry picking, lemon curd sandwiches and playing Pooh sticks.
They do not include being thrown in the river after the Pooh stick to see who could learn to swim fastest.
Thankfully, Raffie’s swimming teacher is a modern woman and is not keen to see them flounder. But after taking a break over Christmas it was not a happy start to the day. Raffie was very disappointed to hear that we hadn’t given up on swimming after all, “but WHY do we have to go again?” but knows better than to complain to the teacher’s face.
Over the months his confidence has been improving, and he is tolerating being splashed at times, but we were still having tears at the thought of going under the water. Until this week.
We had tears at the thought of it, but eventually he shut his eyes and mouth and under he went. Putting his head under the water may seem insignificant but it has been like climbing a mountain for Raffie, who has never been entirely convinced about the benefits of swimming.
And most weeks we have tears at going under the water, being sprayed with water, and generally doing anything he doesn’t want to do.
But perseverance has paid off, and the look of satisfaction on his face has made all the moaning worth it. While I was wrestling with our locker which had swallowed my £1 coin, he watched another swimming lesson in the big pool, transfixed. “I want to do that,” he said, and if he keeps persevering, perhaps one day he will. And much as I love my Grandmother, I think we’ll stick with our swimming teacher to help him get there.