Saturday was a beautiful day. We packed up a picnic lunch and headed out as a family to the park to enjoy the beginning of spring. Both kids bounded out of the van, running as fast as their little legs would carry them for the park. It didn’t take long for the baby girl to notice the swings. “‘Wings! ‘wings!” she called out and bolted for the swings. I followed behind, watching Jacob’s reaction. His sister loves the swings, but for Jacob it is a different story.
I can’t say when the fear of swings started for Jacob. He certainly never liked them as a baby. I tried the baby swing that everyone insisted I needed to lull him to sleep. Nope. Wanted nothing to do with it. But not every baby dislikes swinging, so we didn’t give it much thought and stored it away in the attic. As a toddler we would set him on our laps as we swung on the swings, but usually it was short lived. He liked the slides. So maybe he was a slide guy, nothing wrong with that.
But at about age three, things got worse. It was after my husband and I had gone away for a much needed week away for an early anniversary vacation, that we noticed Jacob’s fear of swings had escalated. Suddenly it was no longer just a preference of slides, but a full on fear to where he couldn’t even be near swings. He would start screaming and you could hear the panic in his little voice. The much loved park behind our house became a nightmare for him and us. We couldn’t even go to the park anymore. But worse, Jacob couldn’t even stand the sight of the swings from our house. “Oh, no!” he would yell, from our dining room window while he stared at the kids at recess. It was like a train wreck to him. As much as it bothered him and brought him distress, he could not stop watching. He would cry and yell while at the window fearful for the kid’s safety on the swings. No matter how much I tried to stop him from looking, he still managed to wrangle the blinds to the side so he could see out.