Pool Time

Initially, the whole point of going to the special needs family swim at Tad’s school pool was to give him more time to play in the water.  He loved the playtime so much after the class lesson on Mondays, that it was getting hard for him to wait to play.  When I learned about the open swim, it seemed like an ideal solution.

And it has helped – he loves the extra playtime, and I can honestly say that it has helped him conquer his fear of getting his face in the water.  He has gone from fearful to fearless.  He now has me tossing toys into the pool for him to dive for and fetch.  We don’t go very deep, but he LOVES it.  Tad’s become my little fish… well, my little shark, anyway.

But the person that the swim time has really been beneficial for is… Ane.

Yes, she loves the water as well.  Yes, she’s getting time to play and practice – and once summer comes, I really want to get both kids into swimming lessons.  But the unexpected side benefit for Ane is the two other girls that she gets to regularly play with.

Missie is 7, and is in first grade, like Ane.  Allie is 5, and I think she’s in kindergarten.  All three girls enjoy playing together – last night, it was “let’s play Little Mermaid!” and they spent the entire time being Ariel and her sisters, evading sharks and trying to swim underwater.

Both Missie and Allie have older brothers who are in second grade.  Missie’s brother is autistic, and Allie’s brother has Down’s Syndrome.  The boys are there at the pool, too.

Ane is getting to be with other girls her age who also have brothers with disabilities.  She is seeing, really for the first time, that she’s not the only one out there. Other kids have challenging siblings, too.  And when you’re with other kids who live the life you’re living, with a brother who can’t behave normally… any stigma that there might have been disappears.  There’s no finger-pointing.  No questions of “what’s wrong with him?”  There’s just an unspoken acceptance of the facts… and then they get on with being mermaids together.

The exercise has been great for the kids.  The extra play time has been wonderful for Tad.  The beginning swimming skills they both are developing are terrific.  But the chance for Ane to get to know girls in her peer group who have brothers like hers, to know that she’s not alone…. THAT is priceless, and worth all the extra time that we spend at the pool.

2 Responses to “Pool Time”

  1. Oddball
    March 25th, 2011 05:13

    That sounds like a great time! Just so you know we do have a pool too here in Oklahoma and I can teach swim lessons too (for free minus the cost of travel) due largely to the fact I have been swimming since I was Cowgirl’s age.

  2. Ressis
    March 25th, 2011 11:15

    Along with the pool, our other accommodations are a gym (okay, so it’s just my stationary bike and a TV, but I could always put the yoga mats and our random assortment of weights in there if I wanted to), a pack ‘n’ play for Rerun, free breakfast, an air mattress manually pumped to your desired firmness, wireless internet, a dog to play with, and the two cutest little girls on the planet. 😉