Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Go Ahead, Assume...

     Okay...I get it.  My child can seem uncoordinated and clumsy.  Because of this people underestimate his capabilities.
     We take the kids swimming a lot.  We introduced swimming pools to our kids as soon as they were born.  They all took to the water like fish.  During the summer we swim at my Aunt's pool next door.  During the winter my Aunt has given us a membership to the pool and gym so that way the kids can swim all year and my husband can also work out at the gym.  Kyle generally likes to hang out in the deep end in this one corner right next to the side.  It is nine feet deep at that end, but he is a very competent swimmer.  We have been going to this place for a few years now and he has never had a problem being down that end before.  A couple of days ago was a different story.
     My husband was in the pool at the smaller end with the two little ones.  Kyle was down in his corner.  I had never seen this lifguard before.  She was very nice, but very cautious.  This didn't really bother me because her approach was very nice and very caring.  One of the times that she came up to me she expressed a concern about Kyle being in the deep end.  She asked me if he had taken the 'test' that you need to take in order to swim in the deep end.  Test?  What test?  I didn't know there was a test.  I told her that as far as I knew he hadn't but asked if she could test him.  She wasn't able to at that moment because the swim team was practicing and there were a lot of people in the pool.  She agreed to do it at a later time.
     Now I wouldn't have asked her to give him the test if I thought he wouldn't pass.  The test was to swim from the shallow end to the deep end and then tread water for a minute.
     Swim team practice ended and the pool was quiet.  I asked her if she could test him now.  Kyle was eager.  She said that she could.  She explained to Kyle about the test and made sure that he understood what he had to do.  He showed her that he understood by repeating what she said and showing her with his body movements.  You could tell she was concerned.  I just stood back and didn't say anything, Kyle passing the test would be words enough.
     Kyle proceeded to swim towards the deep end.  He wasn't struggling, he was doing fine.  The only thing that he was doing odd was that he kept twitching his head, which I am sure was his response to the water in his ears.  I have never seen him do this that much before.  The lifeguard asked me about it and also asked if he usually does that.  All I said was that sometimes somethings bother him and sometimes they don't and that he has a variety of sensory issues.  I was in the middle of questioning something in my mind at this point anyway.  To me it was weird that he has issues with the whistle and ball sounds from basketball, but the echo in the pool area and whistle from the coach of the swim team went unnoticed.
     He made it to the end and then tread water.  One minute was up and he was fine.  I wanted to ask the lifeguard if we could see if he could make five minutes...I knew he could but I didn't ask.  The victory was his at this point anyway.
     The lifeguard said to him that he passed and that she was going to set some restrictions even though he passed.  He wasn't to swim out into the middle of the deep area, he was to stay near the sides.  Come on, he just passed your 'test'.  I didn't say anything because he doesn't swim out there anyway.  He likes his corner.
     I like to consider myself a cautious parent, sometimes to the extreme sense, but sometimes to me people freak out way too much when it comes to swimming pools.  I agree that you never leave a child unattended in the pool, but if you freak out the second the child's head goes under water you are going to scare them and they aren't going to want to swim.  People are amazed at how well our little ones swim and jump in the water where it is above their heads and swim to the edge or to a parent.  It is because I have given them their space.  If they do for whatever reason sink to the bottom, there is a couple minute window there to get them out and everything will be fine.  As long as you are nearby everything is going to be fine.
     I gave Kyle a bean for passing the test.  He was so excited.  It shows you that just because it may appear that someone can't do something you should at least let them try.  You might just be amazed.

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