Building trust

24 Dec

One of the great advantage of summer – and if you’re fortunate enough to have a pool – is the luxury of swimming often.Not so much for me because I’m far too difficult  “the water is too cold, there’s too much wind, it’s too late, I need to cook dinner’…you know, all the legitimate excuses 😉 BUT for the kids, it’s the best!! Morning and evening, they’ll always be swimming, dawn or dusk, burning hot or freezing cold doesn’t seem to matter to them, and I won’t stop them, especially for Killian who needs as much exercise as he can to get rid of his extra load of energy.

One of the highlights of these past few weeks was to see him grow so much in confidence that he taught himself to swim!! I was looking for swimming lessons to do with my friend Kerry at the end of the year but because we started our search too late, it was pointless to start now and stop during the Christmas holidays.

Lea learnt practically how to swim on her own. I say practically because we didn’t go for swimming lessons.  I thought that it must be her little personality, her own motivation… She started to swim without armbands a year and half ago when we went to France. She learnt in my dad’s pool for the first time. And because South African summer was only a few months later, she had not forgotten -which was great!

Matt has no issues throwing himself into the pool and wait there, under water, holding his breath, for someone to come and take him out. Crazy child! He’s finally starting to move like a tadpole to reach the other end of the pool. He can now manage to get his head out of the water – instead of staring at the bottom of the pool – but hasn’t quite grasped the concept of actually breathing when his head is above water level…

On the other hand, Killian is completely different.  He is my most physical child, by far, and most able, most skilled, more natural… BUT his natural confrontational personality makes him not do things only because we asked him to. He gets frustrated with his armbands but would NEVER remove them, convinced that he would drown in a glass of water!! Nonetheless, it took one afternoon of a very patient papa to convince him otherwise. We learnt a good lesson with him: NEVER push him further than he allows you to. I know it sounds simple / stupid / corny ??? But with Killian, if he tells you to stand right here, there is no room to step back by half a centimetre without having the wrath of Killian descend upon you 😉 But by building trust, millimetre by millimetre, he showed us that he will do it on his terms, at his pace… Had we pushed him (like we tried before by the way…) he would still be stuck with his arm bands and unjustified fear.

The ” I don’t trust you” face…


The “I’m not moving” process…


And the result, with the green little things on the side 🙂


Killian can now swim!! Yeah!!! He’s as comfortable as Lea and he looks so good when he makes an effort to kick his legs and do wide moves with his arms… And I’m very proud of him, proud that he managed to control his fear and trust his papa!

I find it so difficult at times to really know your child, to really know what motivates him, what scares him, what makes his heart beat faster, what causes him to spontaneously burst into overwhelming love for you or uncontrollable rebellion against you. I’m so grateful that I can take the time to know their little hearts so that I can love them better!

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