This week brought another first but “typical” milestone for Nolan. Nolan began his first “not with mom” swim lessons.
Due to his inability to wait in a line and shorter attention span, we opted for the 1:1 swim lessons offered by our local YMCA. Nolan LOVES water and can doggy paddle with his puddle jumper on, but with his love of water and inability to sense danger, we value knowing how to swim without a device–also so he can learn to follow directions and work with another person.
My social anxiety is really high with 1) sending him with someone who doesn’t know him very well 2) not knowing where to go, doors to go in, etc. and 3) watching my child potentially struggle. I have been trying to remain calm and be a good example for him, but this is one of the first times I felt this much anxiety over a new experience for him. Not to mention the only availability was when Alex was working so I have to do the whole experience solo. It is hard not having my rock when I am a nervous wreck.
When we arrived Nolan was in a great mood. I had Stella hold my hand and then he had to hold Stella’s. Ever time one would let go and wander I would just remind them “hold hands!” and they both would. I am finding this tool to be amazing especially for when I need to transport with a third. Even while checking in at the desk, they held hands (with a little drumming involved.)
Once we got to the locker room (family locker room) he had a melt down. I think he was afraid of the electric hand dyers (there wasn’t one but I think he assumed). He started shaking and crying/screaming. Stella started stripping. I am started sweating. It was a hot mess for a few minutes there…but I got Stella re-dressed, I collected him (he took off running the second he had the freedom of the door open) and we got to the pool deck. On the pool deck, he was still very nervous though not crying anymore. He sat on my lap and was still shaking but with some rocking and soothing shhhhhs he calmed down. Let me tell you, Stella is a trooper and a helper. She was even rubbing his leg…. “shhh its ok Noley its ok we got you.”
If you have a child with special needs, I recommend the one on one option if your local YMCA offers it. The peace of mind knowing somebody was always going to have an eye on on him and be working with him while still helping him develop a new relationship and grow is comforting. It was also comforting to see in the water. His teacher took his hand to go to the water and he accepted it very trustingly.
He didn’t love the water at first but as soon as she eased him into it and his body adjusted to the temperature he was bouncing away. She was working on comfort in the water, with him, and him learning boundaries. Every time he scampered up the steps, she brought him back into the water, Nolan giggling. They attempted noodles (he bit it, totally normal for Nolan), a squirt bottle that really brought the giggles, and more. He mostly loved to bob around from one end to the the other.
We were a little nervous Stella would be upset and want to go too. She asked one time, “Stella go to swimming school too?” I just told her “No, this is Nolan’s turn you can go to swimming school when you are bigger.” She totally accepted this and was all about using her “color colors.”