Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Peter and the Pool

Now Peter should be an Olympic swimmer, that is a Special Olympic swimmer. After all, he was treated just like Sara and Mike and literally thrown into a pool at a very early age. I do not know if "Mommy and Me" classes are still the thing you do when your children cannot walk or talk, but when my children were under the age of one, they were hauled off to a "Mommy and Me" class, and, yes, I their loving mother, dropped them into a nice warm pool and watched them come up for air. Standing close by was the instructor who spewed words of encouragement that they would rise to the top..instincts, she said. And they did, soggy diaper and all, they rose, turned on their backs and floated. An amazing event, which now, may be considered uncool, and maybe, if I did a literature search, may even find and article or two on how this dunk may affect one's psyche.
With Peter it was different. Peter had poor muscle tone as an infant and early toddler, so I was apprehensive about his ability to get to the top..of the water. So, I held off his swimming lessons until he was older. I was determined that he would learn to swim, as we often visited places that included water. The other factor, that kept swimming on the back burner, was finding an instructor who specialized with children with Special Needs.
Peter grew, I researched, and, eventually found a super lady in another city that had a pool in her home, and as I was told, "was good with children with special abilities".
So, off we went, twice a week for swimming lessons. This time, she was the dunker, not I. I sat and watched. Seemingly, this would seem easier, but sitting fully clothed on the side lines, watching Peter struggle at times, took a major dose of patience and trust.
Although Peter took more lessons to catch on, it was a great day when he, fully clothed, in sweats, jumped or maybe he was given a nudge, went into the deep end of the pool, and swam safely to the side. I still see him in his black sweat pants and sweatshirt, making his way to the ladder. Triumph rained, and Peter could swim...or his paddle.
After the pool event, Peter loved the water and would spend hours in a pool or the ocean. Loved water, water slides, shouts of joy were heard throughout the area as Peter was just happy surrounded by water. Of course, when he was done swimming, he was know the story.
Today, Peter absolutely refuses to get into a pool. Hour of conversation, maybe over a glass or wine and chocolate milk, have been spent discussing the "Why" of this and still no insight. No negotiations, no bribing, nada..nothing will remind him that he really does like to swim. No Special Olympic swimming for him. Maybe next year will be the year.....there is always the hope, the anticipation that some magic button in Peter's mind will turn on or off, and he will again enjoy the water. And, if I ever discover that button, I will be the one pushing it.

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