A risk-taker I am not. I always wait until the light has turned to "walk" before I cross the road. I have never sky-dived, bungy jumped, abseiled or base jumped, and I have no regrets about that. I get no thrills from that heart-in-your-throat kind of feeling. I like my feet planted firmly on the ground.
That's all fine and good; however, sometimes it is good to put yourself outside your comfort zone. I have discovered that recently, and it only took a brush with death to realise it. More on that another time.
Anyway, we were recently invited to my friend's six-year-old's birthday party, and it was being held at the local water slide park. I have been to this park twice before, and both times, I detested it. My mouth would go dry at the mere thought of it. The slides were dark and fast and I have walked away with numerous minor bumps and bruises in the past.
For most people reading this, they would think, "What's the big deal? It is only a water slide." For me it was a big deal. Fear didn't prevent me from going down the water slide, as I had an obligation to my boys and to William. It wouldn't be fair for me to sit under the shade umbrella sipping cool drinks, whilst he traipsed up to the top of the water slide an uncountable number of times to accompany the boys as they attempted to plunge to their early deaths--a bit melodramatic, but the extent of my fear has been conveyed.
Anyway, this time things were different. CheekyBoy had a couple of goes on the "baby"slide and decided it was not for him. Will took StarBoy down a few times, but StarBoy was still not ready to go it on his own, so Dad gave up after a while. After lunch, we were starting to think about calling it a day and so I called StarBoy over and said that we would go up a couple of more times before going home. I told him that I was scared too and that I didn't want to go on the Flying Fox, because it was dark and scary. So we agreed to go on the Cyclone as it was the one reserved for the smaller children--the "baby"one I mentioned earlier--yeah right. Anyway, after we did that one a few times, with my heart firmly in my throat, I passed by the sign that told you how to sit when going down the slides, and I realised that I had been doing it wrong all along!
The sign said to sit with your legs slightly apart and use your hands to stabilise yourself. I suggested to StarBoy that if he were to sit between my knees as he had been doing but instead of me holding on to him, he should hold on to my legs. He agreed and we were off! We never looked back. I had been holding on to him instead of stabilising us and as a result we were getting tossed from side to side with no idea of which way to lean into the curves. No wonder it was a living hell.
So after doing the Cyclone a few more times, with the difference being we actually enjoyed it, StarBoy turned to me and said, "Mummy, I think I can do it by myself now. You just have to come after me." And so each time after that, he inched his way into sliding independently. The next step was me waiting at the bottom whilst he slid down, then it was sliding at the same time on parallel slides, so that we landed in the same pool at the bottom. This forced me to brave my demon, the Flying Fox, because what was next to the Banana Bender that StarBoy wanted to ride?--the dreaded Flying Fox. I realised that it was only scary on the first turn, and if I was using my hands to stabilise?--no sweat!
So one and a half hours later, we finally tore ourselves away from the water slides as the party was already packed up and the last people were gathering their belongings. We can't wait to go back and do it all again soon! The best part was at the end of the day when I received lots of extra cuddles from StarBoy, because we conquered our fear together, and I let him take baby steps to get there.