A Whole New Boy

“My connection to the earth is reinforced through the rhythm of the waves.”  ~Mike Dolan

Theodore has long loved his bath time and he still does. Earlier this year we realized how much when he actually reclined in the bathtub, and let me assist him in moving in the water back and forth, almost in a rocking motion. First, that he would lie down in such a position was amazing. Second, and probably more powerful, is the feeling of trust he has when I am assisting him in his bath.

As usual, we have quite a regimented schedule when it comes to bath time. Try the potty first. Get ready for the tub. Fill tub (we have an old-fashioned claw-footed tub) and help him in the water. Shampoo hair. Get “soapy” clean everywhere else (complete with its own song), then some time to play.

He laughs, giggles, makes eye contact, and is very, very vocal when he is in the water. Happy. Singing. JOY!

BEFORE

Theodore BEFORE getting into the water

We had been eyeing the sensory swim class at the Tri-Valley YMCA for quite a while. I think that swimming, in general, is important for the kiddos to learn. I never took classes and I regret it. I can swim OK but I’m self-taught, and not strong at all. I would feel a little better knowing that my kiddos could swim or at least know what to do when in the water.The sensory swim class teaches the basics. It’s more therapy-based but they do some simple exercises such as pulling your arms through the water, kicking and so on.

And I get to get in the water with Theodore.

First Day Jitters

I wasn’t sure how Theo was going to take the change in schedule, but I was confident that he’d like the water. So off we went, after the girls stirred up some trouble for daddy (lucky him). We got ready for class, got in the van, and headed to the Y. The whole time I told Theo what to expect, that we’d be getting in the pool. I made sure we got there at least 15 minutes early since I did have to get ready, and I wasn’t sure how he’d react if the Y was busy (it wasn’t).

We headed to the pool and went inside. We made our way towards the shallow end, and sat on a bench. A fellow classmate and his dad sat on a bench not too far away. I put Theo’s swim vest on, and continued to reassure him that it’d be OK, and that we were going to get into the pool.

He looked at me, looked at the pool…grabbed my hand, got off the bench, and headed for the door to leave.

Oh boy I thought.

I then told him it was just like a big bathtub. That we were going to get in together, and try it out. By then, class was just starting.

He again tried to lead me away but, instead, put his arms up to be carried. OK I thought.

  • We slowly descended down the stairs.
  • I continued to reassure him it was OK as he tried to inch up higher on me (and out of the water).
  • Eventually, with nowhere to go, we were in the water.
  • Silence.

And then, I saw it. The big smile. We started singing a hello song, and he started to ease into the water (good thing since class is 45-minutes long).

Then Theo proceeded to laugh, giggle, smile and be very vocal the whole time in the pool. He was a totally different kid. Transformed.

Pure joy.

Happy.

After swim class

Here’s a photo of Theo after class. You may even make out a smile 🙂

MOVING! And doing things like getting up on a “platform” seat that his classmates rocked in the water…then slipping back into my arms and into those healing waters.I have never seen anything like it. It was wonderful and after class was done, he allowed me to change him and myself in the locker room without problem, and then continued to “talk” all the way home.

I think we have really found something he enjoys.

Our second class was on July 3 and he continued to do well. Unfortunately he happened to fall asleep before class and he doesn’t cat-nap well, so it was a tough one. But I know he really enjoys it because each night now he’s looking for that chance to get in the car and go…

go and head to those healing waters.

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