Tuesday, 17 September 2013

My Reluctant Fish

When I applied for grants over the summer, one of the services I applied for was special needs swimming lessons for Jack.  At first glance it may seem as though he would be fine in regular swim lessons, however we have tried that and let's just say it didn't go so well. 
The group nature of the activity was not a good fit, and honestly even though he is upright, running and walking, he actually has some significant gross and fine motor deficits.  Along with insecurity- not knowing where his body is in space.  I wanted him to have at least a good 6 week session or two of this (one on one lessons with a specialized instructor) and then maybe we can move back to regular lessons.  However, these lessons are expensive, so that is why I applied some of our funding to this area. 

So you can imagine my dismay when before the 4th lesson last week, Jack was telling me he didn’t want to go back.  I was that mom “oh no, you WILL go back”.  I may not be paying out of pocket for the lessons, but believe me, I did the work to get that funding, and it will be utilized.  Last week he got his wish because when he arrived at his lesson there was a code brown and the pool had to be cleaned.  His lesson was cancelled.  Well, he started in again today after school, telling me he didn’t want to go, didn’t want to put his face in, go under, etc.  He has done this for a long time when he is at the regular pool so I was a bit perplexed.  So I asked him why.  His answer?  He can’t talk when he’s under water.  This from the boy who is literally incapable of NOT talking during any given moment of the day.  Clearly this compulsion is stronger than I thought if the idea of refraining from talking for a few minutes gives him this kind of anxiety and dread. 

This is where the brainteaser parenting comes into play.  Everything needs to be turned into an “opportunity” surrounding one of his areas of interest.  Not to brag, but I’m a pro.  I told him that if he didn’t learn how to go under water and speak “bubble language” that he would never be able to communicate with all of the animals in the ocean.  If you recall, about a year ago he was all about whales, crabs, lobsters, hermit crabs and sharks.  He asked if he would be able to say “real words” while he was under, so I demonstrated a very, umm, odd “hwelllo” in bubble talk.   He seemed satisfied with this answer, but was still reluctant.  His instructor also wanted him to start wearing goggles this week since he will be going under quite a bit more, and he was vehemently opposed to this.  Until I told him they were fighter pilot goggles. Then he wouldn’t take them off- score!

He did an absolutely AWESOME job at his lesson!  He went under, jumped in with and without pads, practiced some basic strokes and floated on his back (ok well only for a second).  I had told his instructor at the beginning of his lesson about the going under water thing and the pilot goggles thing, so she was able to keep that going.  At the end of the lesson she told me that Jack was making some funny sounds when he went under and was blowing bubbles.  I repeated my ridiculous hello to her and said “like that??”  She said, yes, exactly like that!  The boy is determined to speak no matter where he is. 

And no the irony of that situation is not lost on me.  Because while he was doing this, I was in the viewing area with Nate toiling to get him to say water- and he DID say it during bath time tonight.  I swear to God there are times that I think he sits there and bides his time, and then decides, oh all right, I’ll throw the old girl a bone and comes out with it “water”.  But only once- mommy has to work for those words.  Maybe this is a load of crap- but if you saw the smug expression on my sweet boy’s face when this is happening, you might just agree with me.

Someone wanted to join in the fun....


  1. Hi Jenny, I'd love to take mine to swimming lessons, but is forbidden by the doctor due to his high levels of some heavy metals on his blood, so the chemicals on the swimming pool water will only make it worse. Have you heard of such thing? If so, would you mind sharing it? Regards, B

  2. Go Jack and mommy for those great tricks lol. Thanks for share!