Flunking the Slide
We've been in parent/child swimming lessons for the past four weeks (having missed about two of those because of aforementioned death cough), and tonight we went to our last lesson. One of the things they typically do at the last lesson is to let the participants ride down the slide. It's not the craziest of slides, not the wildest of rides, yet I have developed my own, well, fear of it. The first time I was too afraid and had the teacher do it. The second time I went down with Jooge and I went WAY TOO FAST and rocketed into the water, taking my frightened child under with me. It was awful.
So tonight I'm climbing the stairs with Avery who is sporting her little life-jacket, teeth chattering but not at all alarmed at the height we've reached and the prospect of what we're about to do. I'm trying to be brave. But. There's a but. Upon descent I again learn that I can't go down without rocketing, without feeling completely and utterly out of control, without fear paralyzing me at the bottom, threatening to drown my poor dependent two year old. People told me to lean forward, that you wouldn't go too fast, but that just did not work for me. What ended up happening was us gaining momentum with each and every curve so that when we shot into the pool we both were submerged and Avery had to be pulled up by our on-the-ball instructor, waiting for us at the bottom. I might add we gave the bigger women whose water aerobics was momentarily interrupted quite a view. If our landing didn't demand all eyes, my wailing child must have. "You must have a really slippery swimming suit," was the swimming teacher's only supposition.
What is wrong with me? NOBODY ELSE HAD THIS PROBLEM. Everybody, and I mean each and every perky, brave, able mother, launched their bodies down the pink chute, emerging on the other side smiling, kids wearing expressions of excitement.
I didn't attempt it again. Instead, I handed my kid over and thankfully watched the instructor bring her down. Avery made it without tears but was definitely afraid until my sideline cheers calmed her grimace. So I was dually frustrated. My fear had rubbed off on her. This bothers me about myself, both the contagious fear and the ineptitude. It made me feel pretty crappy. And so, I will not be sad that our parent/child swimming class has ended. Having never really experienced swimming-pool specific anxieties before, this is a new one for me that I am happy to leave right there at the pool.