Pen’s friends excitedly lined up at the edge of the pool. When the instructors beckoned them towards the water, Penrose turned from child to koala, clinging fiercely to my leg and whimpering. Five kids gradually entered the pool to practice bobbing and kicking. One child eventually sat with her toes in the water, poking the surface and muttering to herself.
I was a screamer too, and later, getting a shot of Novocaine for an extraction, a kicker. I stopped going to the dentist all together as soon as I was on my own, which led to an extremely unpleasant month of mass cavity fillings a few years later.
For some of my students, a lot of the information and terminology they shared about the gender and sexuality spectra was brand new and even uncomfortable, but when we were all on the floor with a rainbow of markers making posters for the table at Belfast Pride, the fun outweighed the discomfort.