The air was becoming stale in our house. The bitter cold meant the windows were shut, and with my wife working from home a lot more, and me off full time, three of us in the house 24/7 meant the cabin fever was becoming too much. It was time to make a stand; time for some positive parenting.
We took the decision to take the boy down to the local leisure centre to try him out in the pool. My wife had already done a remarkable job in turning him from bath-hater to bath advocate, so we were quietly confident that the swimming pool or ‘giant fun bath’ would be a success.
We were not wrong.
Our neighbour came with us accompanied by his daughter, so as a posse, we trotted into the swimming baths to see what sort of reaction we would get from the boy.
It was a difficult start. A family changing room was not available, so we squeezed into a single, which was probably a mistake, but we managed to all throw on some kind of swimming attire and make our way to the pool.
Our friends were already there, so we joined them in the shallow end to see what would happen, expecting the lad to tentatively play in the thin sliver of water.
Instead he made a bee-line for the deep, striding confidently toward the slide, almost as if we had patronised him with the shallow water.
We quickly joined him, and began what was a very easy and fun hour of splashing about. So quickly he became accustomed to the pool, that when we ventured into the deeper water occupied mainly by adults, we tried sitting him on a massive round float to see if that would take his fancy.
Oh no Dad, sitting is for wimps…
He instantly put himself on his feet, and stood, perfectly balanced, on a float on five feet of water.
I could not believe it. I stared in proud awe of my son, thinking only about how much professional surfer Kelly Slater makes in endorsement deals each year.
This positive parenting gamble had paid off completely, as not only did the wee man have a great deal of fun, but it was a huge opportunity to tighten the bonds of attachment between the three of us – when his head submerged, we picked him straight out, and each time his trust for us grew – even if only by a small margin.
Swimming was a huge success, and something we will do as often as we can. The morning was over, now on to the next ‘first’.
The afternoon was our son’s first party; his first real, official social event. Naturally my wife got him a new outfit, and the boy did look dapper, but we were still a bit apprehensive. We already had our own reservations about children’s parties, but we also didn’t know how he would react, and interact with the other kids.
Once again, we needn’t had worried, the boy did us proud. He is still too young to understand how to properly play with other children, but he was nothing short of charming. Whilst he ran around this particular school hall with the fervour of a jack rabbit, he still sought out his mum and dad every now and again to ‘check in’. We were delighted.
The jack is now out of the box. We are no longer confined to our living room, or the buggy. We will endeavour to apply our new found positive parenting and adventure as far and wide as we can.
His world is continuing to change. His world has suddenly become a lot bigger.