Little steps

September 23, 2013

When POD was a baby we signed up for a swimming course with the view to building her confidence. She loved it and was photographed under water just 3 months later. Incredible really.

We returned for a second term as she was enjoying it so much. But a few weeks in, our visits to the pool came to an abrupt end. POD continued to enjoy being dunked under the water but I broke my wrist. Badly.Β With one of us out, sessions became more difficult. When the term ended we decided not to renew.

It was almost a year before we were able to start again. This photograph was taken at the beginning of that first session.Β It kicked off really well initially but three dives proved one to many. With cries of “get my out” and much screaming we left the pool before the class finished.

The next week it was clear she was terrified. She gripped Daddy so tightly you could see the strain in her fingers. After ten minutes in the pool we decided to leave. We were advised to continue trying so each week we arrived and each week it was the same, out of the pool within ten minutes. For the last session both of us were allowed in the pool. There was a slight improvement in that POD loosened her grip but she was still scared. We left it for six months after that.

Yesterday we took POD to the local sports centre where they run a toddler session. We hoped it would provide her with the opportunity to get used to the water. There was a crab, whale and turtle to sit on, a jacuzzi-like pool and a pirate ship. Not to mention water slides and shutes.

POD was apprehensive at first and insisted on being carried. But over time, she was walking in the shallow waters holding Daddy’s hand. Gradually she let go of his hand until finally she walked freely in the water issuing the occasional instruction as to where she wanted to go.

Although she had no interest in the toddler group, where the water was much deeper, POD braved a water slide on her own and lay on Daddy’s tummy down a water shute. She stayed in the pool for almost an hour!

It was amazing to see her confidence build during that time. And by taking little steps, we hope she will learn to love the pool again just as much as she loves her bath!

We’re linking this post up with What’s The Story? on PODcast and Magic Moments at The Oliver’s Madhouse.



  • Galina V September 23, 2013 at 9:07 am

    What a beautiful photo! and a lovely story. It took quite a while for our older son to gain confidence in the swimming pool, he was so terrified of it to start with.

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Thank you Galina, such a wonderful moment yesterday. It sounds like you had a similar experience with your older son, I hope he’s happier in the water now πŸ™‚

  • Jocelyn (@IHaveCards) September 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Gorgeous photo! Lovely that POD seems to be getting her confidence back. Boo had swimming lessons this time last year, and due to the teacher suddenly dunking her under the water, she became scared of the water and unhappy about going. We’re booked into Alton Towers’ Splash Landings for her birthday in a couple of weeks, as I think all of the fun things to do there will have her soon forgetting her fears..I hope..!

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      That’s really interesting about Boo. It’s not really surprising they don’t like being dunked under the water is it? I do hope she has a great time at Alton Towers’ Splash Landings, having things to do definitely sidetracked POD. We’re going again on Sunday πŸ™‚

  • suzanne3childrenandit September 23, 2013 at 9:37 am

    What a wonderful moment. I think this is quite common in little ones, it happened to my youngest daughter too around the age of POD. She refused to get back in the water until the age of 5! I think as parents, we question if they will ever get over it, but they do and POD is clearly on the road to being a little water baby again! x

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      That’s good to know Suzanne, I’ve always blamed myself as I mostly caused the gap. I hope over time she’ll learn to love the pool again. We’re going at the weekend again so she can sit on more turtles!

  • Notmyyearoff September 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

    That’s really brilliant and big milestone. Z was the same when he was much younger. He wasn’t bothered at all but then we left a big gap and he spent the entire holiday clutching us really tightly. In the end we took him to the shallow end and just let him stand on the edge and he came in by himself. He’s still very tentative about water though. Beautiful photo!

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks Tas, that makes me feel so much better. We’re just trying to build her confidence up again now and once we have that, we’ll start on lessons. She ended up doing brilliantly in the shallow waters so that’s a start. We’ll go back this weekend so fingers crossed πŸ™‚

  • Dean September 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Love the photo! What a beautiful little sweetheart. Glad she’s built up her confidence again =)

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks Dean, really kind of you. We made a lot of progress yesterday even if it was in really shallow water. Onward and upwards πŸ™‚

  • Alison September 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Glad she is feeling confident again, its a great step forward

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks Alison, it’s a start!

  • HonestMum September 23, 2013 at 11:45 am

    What a beauty!

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Thank you lovely πŸ™‚

  • Kara September 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Well done POD. It’s odd when they suddenly develop a fear of something they enjoyed doing before isn’t it.
    Hopefully her confidence will start coming back now

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      Thanks Kara. We shouldn’t have done the dives in that first session back I don’t think, just spooked her. It’s funny for a toddler so confident in everything else. Yesterday was a huge step forward πŸ™‚

  • Emma The Mini Mes and Me September 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Beautiful picture! Minxy hates water, I enrolled her for some lessons which built her confidence a little though thankfully. Next term she has lessons with school too so fingers crossed! x

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Thank you. I think it just takes time doesn’t it Emma. Sounds like the way forward is just getting them used to the water so they’re not so scared. I’m sure school lessons will really help Minxy πŸ™‚

  • Nichola Fabfortymum September 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    What a beautiful picture Charly and so lovely to read that her confidence is coming back, it’s hard watching them when they are afraid of something, but your gentle approach certainly seems to have paid off and now that she sees all the fun play time too, she’ll probably love it xx

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      Thank you Nichola. I can’t tell you how great it was to see her looking happy and letting go of Daddy. Even though it was shallow water, it was a start most definitely. Hopefully we’re back at the weekend πŸ™‚

  • Erica Price September 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Lovely picture. Such a pity that you had to take a break, but difficult to swim with a broken wrist. Glad that she seems to be regaining her water confidence.

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Thanks Erica. We were gutted, it all started so well by getting her in early. Little did we know what would happen over those months. Hopefully now we can start to build her confidence up πŸ™‚

  • OneDad3Girls September 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    What a lovely photo, Aly was exactly the same when she was younger. Once we’d been back a few times she was fine.

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      That’s good to know Aly was the same, seems to be quite common. POD loves the bath so I’m sure she will love the pool too in time πŸ™‚

  • Instinctivemum September 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    What a beautiful photo. We had the same with my middle child who after a period away from swimming became terrified by it…with some time and gentle encouragement he is now back to loving it as much as he ever did. I hope POD fully rediscovers her confidence soon x

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Thank you! It’s good to hear your middle child went through the same thing. So good to hear he’s back to loving it again. I’ve never really seen POD as terrified as she used to be in that pool. I’m hoping she’ll bounce back too πŸ™‚

  • Jaime Oliver September 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    awww well done POD we had the same with Joshua and we found regular short visits helped massively. In not time at all i bet she becomes a little mermaid πŸ™‚

    Thanks for linking up with #Magicmoments x

    • Charly Dove September 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Thanks lovely, I do hope so. I’m sure she’d love it πŸ™‚

  • Emma @ Helvetia Handmade September 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Beautiful picture. We were similar, C didn’t go swimming for quite a while and then when we did she was terrified. It has taken about 2 years for her now to be confident in the water, and finally it is great to see her get over her fear and enjoy the pool.

    • Charly Dove September 24, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Thank you Emma. Really helpful to know that. It was a great moment on Sunday but I think it will be a little while yet before she’s happy in deeper water. We’re going to keep at it though *crosses fingers*

  • Mummy of Two September 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Great photo! Glad she seems to be enjoying it a bit more again, it is such an important thing for them to learn isn’t it.

    • Charly Dove September 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Thank you – so important. Hoping she’ll build up her confidence then she can learn to swim πŸ™‚

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom) September 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Lovely photo! As you know from our chat on twitter, my oldest was the same – now he is a confident swimmer, starting to learn proper strokes and breathing – he’s going to be a better technical swimmer than me soon! Just let her take it at her own pace, she’ll be swimming before you know it πŸ™‚

    • Charly Dove September 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thank you Sara. I think we’ll just take it slow – I’m sure she’ll be like a fish again over time πŸ™‚

  • Aida September 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    what a gorgeous image. Harry used to love swimming but we had to stop when the ear infections started and only went back once this summer, it took him a while but I think he managed to have some fun.i love swimming so really hope we can make that a more frequent activity this year.

    • Charly Dove September 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thank you Aida. It’s so important too isn’t it. Sounds like Harry is enjoying himself in the water again which is great news πŸ™‚

  • Lou's Lake Views September 24, 2013 at 3:13 am

    I think it’s such an important skill for little ones to learn so well done for taking it slowly and building her confidence. That photo is so lovely, her eyes are exactly the same blue as the water, lucky girl!

    • Charly Dove September 24, 2013 at 8:53 am

      It really is isn’t it, I so hope she can build her confidence up. It was amazing to watch, so thankful I didn’t cry! Love this photo πŸ™‚

  • older mum in a muddle September 24, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Well done POD – taking it in her own time! Sounds like she is finding her confidence in the water really well, and it won’t be long before she’s splashing about with the rest of her peer group! I took Little A to a baby swimming group too – now I need to find her swimming lessons (it’s been a while now). X

    • Charly Dove September 25, 2013 at 12:10 am

      Thank you – so hope she can start building her confidence now. We’re hoping to go again this weekend. Good luck finding swimming lessons for Little A πŸ™‚

  • Kim Carberry September 24, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Lovely photo! So glad she seems to be enjoying it a bit more again….

    • Charly Dove September 25, 2013 at 12:10 am

      Thank you Kim, we’re keeping our fingers crossed πŸ™‚

  • Funky Wellies September 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I hope she will love the pool again too!
    Beautiful photo. xx

    • Charly Dove September 25, 2013 at 12:10 am

      Thank you Katia πŸ™‚