July 8, 2010 by Marj Hatzell
I have a teensy confession to make.
I despise the sun. I don’t like the feeling of it on my skin. I prefer cloudy and rainy days to clear sunny ones.
I despise the beach. Sand makes me INSANE. Don’t get it anywhere near me (now you’re all gonna mail me buckets of sand). The kids? LOVE. Hours and hours of fun.
Here’s the thing. When one’s kids love water (LOVE) one must suck it up and take them to the pool. Despite the fact that one doesn’t enjoy being wet ONE IOTA. Especially when one would rather sit under the gi-huge-ic umbrella in the shade with a water bottle.
The pool? Just about the biggest blessing for children on the spectrum. Pools are so calming, so relaxing, for them. They sleep better. They eat better! They are happier and more focused. It’s a miracle. And it only cost A GRAND! Cheapest therapy yet!
Neither one of my children has healthy fear of water. They are both very confident, almost to a fault. They’re all, “MOM. I CAN SWIM IN THE TWELVE FOOT AREA. SHEESH.” And jump in, only to find it’s a teensy bit deep for them. So we’ve always been hyper-aware of them at pools. Bug Boy has recently started figuring out the whole “if I don’t learn to swim there’s a small chance I’ll drown” phenomenon. Last summer I made him take private lessons because he thought he could just jump in the deep end with his friends who had been swimming since birth. He really balked at the idea, confidently telling me he “could already swim!” So I allowed him to take the swim test. And he failed. And the deal was if he passed, no swim lessons. But by the end of the summer? He passed.
The first day the pool was opened this summer he wanted to take the test IMMEDIATELY. See, our pool insists on the kids taking the test anew every single year. I agree with this policy, since many children don’t swim over the winter at all. Bug Boy is one of them. And he insisted he’d pass. And he didn’t. So I went about signing him up for a lesson and the little bugger passed the deep end test. So then I told him I wanted him to pass the diving board test by the end of the summer and also swim a lap in the lap pool. That requires lessons. The kid had NEVER treaded water in his life, nor had he gone off a dive. Ever. His reply? “Mom. I already KNOW how to do that! SHEESH!” Even the 10-foot dive under the water to retrieve the ring didn’t deter him. He insisted he could do it. I refused to allow him to take the test until he had more lessons. Even Bugaboo is starting lessons (GULP).
Yesterday was $1 buddy day at the pool so I brought my usual gaggle of neighborhood kids with me. His best buddy, Polite Boy, came with us. Since Polite Boy is two years older than Bug Boy, Bug Boy tends to behave himself in order to measure up. He is so much more mature around Polite Boy. He plays differently, too. Turns out peer pressure is a great thing! So we LOVE having Polite Boy around, even if they did have to move (WAAAAH!!!!). This weekend, Polite Boy slept over. He must have whispered in Bug Boy’s ears because the second we arrived at the pool with Polite Boy and the rest of my posse, Bug Boy was already begging to take that dang white-ribbon-dive-test. I sighed and told him to go practice for a while, thinking he’d forget about it by the time we left.
You see where this is going, right?
Five minutes later Polite Boy and Bug Boy came back to me and told me he practiced. Off they went to find the manager to do the test. Two minutes later Bug Boy returned with the white ribbon. Yup, he passed.
He’s still taking that dang lesson. I paid for it.