As the months roll on, I’ve shared so many of Monkey’s steps with you this last year. He’s not the sort of child to ever want to take centre stage, any more than myself or his father were. That’s ok. But he was extremely shy, extremely reserved, and it was holding him back. Things are changing, slowly, but changing all the same. This last week I seen and heard him speaking out and having a go.
Monkey has my childhood bug collection hanging up in his bedroom. Guru Gramps framed the butterflies and moths I caught as child, and included a large Malaysian moth and a Monarch butterfly I’d bought at an exhibition. We took this into school a couple of weeks ago, along with a snake-skin and a couple of wasps nest Guru Gramps gave to Monkey a while ago. Before he went into class, he was showing his best friends the collection and let them touch the snake-skin and wasps nests. You have to be gentle. He told them all about the various butterflies and moths. We certainly knew his stuff. I’d never heard him talk so confidently in a school environment. It was lovely.
He went into class and the collection was kept safe until Monkey’s teacher had time for him to share with the class.
Well apparently that day came on Monday. I haven’t heard from his teacher as yet, but Monkey came out of school full of it. Telling me what he’d told his class mates about the collection. Where I’d lived as a child, although he seems to have moved Surrey to Spain. Which insects I’d caught. I told everyone that Gramps’s bugs are on show in the Natural History Museum too Mummy. He wouldn’t let anyone hold the snake-skin, but he did show them the wasp’s nest and told them they came from Gramps’s house. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall.
Monkey has Beavers on Monday evenings. This week was going to be a little different, the group would be going to the swimming pool instead of their normal meeting. We had a chat about it last week (remember the nightmare that were swimming lessons?). We’d be going in the main pool, Monkey wasn’t keen. I reassured him that it would be no different from being in the pool in Spain, which he’d loved this summer. I knew he’d never get in the pool without me. How about if I offer to be a parent helper? Still not convinced. How about if we take your woggle too? That way you know you’ll be fine. Ok then. I prepared the Beaver Leader that all might not go swimmingly well, but we’d keep our fingers crossed.
Well Monkey being Monkey, come Monday he was actually quite excited about the prospect of going swimming with Beavers. We got to the pool, met everyone, and he was in really good spirits. It soon became clear that the other children were pretty much all having regular lessons. We got to the side of the pool, no ladder to get in the pool with. First hurdle, he needed a little help getting in but was soon in and off with his woggle. I was looking after two other boys, who were actually both good little swimmers. Would Monkey join in with the fun and games?
Well, he let go of his woggle really quickly, and was happy doggy paddling along. He wouldn’t have a go swimming down to the swim sticks but he was happy in the pool splashing around. He was happy to let me help the other boys when they needed it and he tried a little to swim along with them. He wouldn’t join in with the games at the end of the session, felt too much like a lesson apparently. Then in typical Monkey style, when it was time to get out and come home, he didn’t want to leave. We had another little chat. I need to make more of an effort to go to the pool with him. To fit it into our week. He won’t go back to lessons, he’s adamant. Even one on one. What he’ll do next in Year Three when they go with school? Who knows. A bridge to cross nearer the time. But he coped with the whole experience with Beavers much better than I’d expected.
It was only after we got out, that I realised that I’d had my own little moment. A few years ago I couldn’t even swim, I was terrified of the water. I learned to swim in that pool, and hadn’t been back in it for a couple of years. I hadn’t felt panicked at any point. I’d been helping the boys with treading water, and getting them properly on their backs. I could never have done that before. I could never have felt able to be there for Monkey and other children. In fact, I couldn’t have got in that pool without a ladder a couple of years ago.
As we drove home, I told Monkey what had been going through my head. How happy I was that I’d made the effort to have lessons so I could do fun things like that afternoon with him. How lessons had given me that confidence. Monkey isn’t afraid of the water like I was. He hates the idea of lessons. I need to come up with another way of getting him in the water regularly. Time to get the diary out and come up with a plan.
Speaking out and having a go, another good week for my Monkey.