Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Swimsuit

Hope Floats

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I’ve been taking Pudding to an adapted aquatics class on Sundays.  We can’t really afford the added expense of the weekly lesson, but she loves the water.  We’re doing just one session until our community pool opens for the summer.  They recently filled up this pool, so every time we go to the playground, she stares in at the tempting water and begs to go in.  Every time I tell her she can’t yet, but we’ll go on Sunday.  So she moves on to trying to extort a treat from me, but I’m no sucker.  Or so I think.

As usual, we were in a rush to get our things together and get out on Sunday.  Traffic was horrendous, so I was relieved to get to the pool on time.  I helped her strip out of clothes, and into the top part of her swimsuit.  Then I looked for her bottoms.

They weren’t in the bag.

I frantically pulled everything out of the bag.  Nope.  I’d forgotten them.  I couldn’t believe it.

Now I had to tell her.

She listened.  Her little bottom lip pulled south, and her eyes pooled with tears.

“I want to go swim.”

It was calm, but I knew it was just the beginning of a dive into hysterics.

I felt wretched.

“Pudding, Mummy, is so so sorry.  I know how much you wanted to go swimming.  This is all my fault.  I forgot your swimsuit.  We can go home, and then go out for ice cream (sorbet)  as a special treat.  I promise.  Would you like that?”

“I want to go swim.”

I drew pitying looks from every mother in the changing room.  Everyone has done something like this, I felt their empathy.  But I also knew that with a kid like mine, the stakes were higher.  She wasn’t going to get over it.  This was the beginning of the end of the day for us.

And then, one of the volunteer “swim buddies” and angel in a black costume appeared, offering me the use of a borrowed costume.  Pudding snatched it with an unprompted(!) thank you, and I breathlessly wished her as many blessings as I could muster.  Pudding had already stepped into the costume before I had a chance to think about how icky a borrowed costume might be.

We dashed to the class only a couple of minutes late, and Pudding soon returned to where she belongs.  I got my weekly treat of seeing floating happiness.  As I went to thank Pudding’s swim buddy (a different volunteer), she cut me off, and thanked me, saying she had never met anyone who loved being in the water so much as my girl, and it was a pleasure to be with her.

After we got changed, I rinsed and returned the borrowed costume to the life-saving lady.  Pudding thanked her.  The lady asked if she’d had a good time swimming.

“Yes.  And now we get ice cream.  Mummy, let’s get ice cream!  With Cubby.  And Daddy.”

Well, Mummy did mess up, and a promise is a promise.  Can’t help but wonder how those bottoms vanished from the bag though, when everything turned out just how she’d hoped.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

May 3, 2011 at 7:03 am


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Last week I was sent an email to see if Pudding would like to go swimming with Miss Arizona.

Pudding + swimming = yes.  The kid loves water.

Then I quickly checked with the coordinator for details.  It turns out there was going to be “swim buddies” and I wouldn’t have to get into the water.  Phew.  I have healthy self-esteem, but I also have an unhealthy appetite for sweets, and I’m not exactly swimsuit ready.  I’m especially not in a swimsuit next to a Miss America contestant ready!  🙂

The birthday boy stayed at home with his grandparents, so I just got to sit back and watch.  And because for once I wasn’t juggling two kids with very different sensory needs, I got to really see it.  How different she is in the water.  It isn’t just that she is more attentive, and coordinated, it isn’t just that she is more social…it is that she is where she belongs.

She fits.

She is at peace.

She is right.

I watched her play games, follow directions, and swim races.  I got to watch her be a regular kid, doing ordinary kid things with some other extraordinary children, and the wonderful volunteers who truly care.

Really though, it was the smile on her face that did me in.  It made me curse my lack of scales and fishy tail.  That smile was luring me to the water to join her.  Where she belongs.  Because on dry land she doesn’t seem to fit in.

She is disturbed by the war on her senses.

She feels all wrong.

She is the fish out of water.  No wonder she feels the call of the sea.

If I’d have brought my costume, I’d have dived in to be with her.  I wouldn’t have cared about being juxtaposed with a beauty queen, my mermaid was so bewitching I thought of nothing but her radiant smile.

As it was, I didn’t have my costume with me, and I sat at the poolside until I was joined by a man I’d never met.  He introduced himself as Bob Pizzano, the man behind the water safety program that responsible for this event and Pudding’s trip to the pool with her S.M.I.L.E. program.  We chatted about the amazing new sprayground that will open in May, where kids of all abilities with a love of the water will be able to play side by side.  We discussed the goals of their program, and what they had already achieved.  Lastly we talked about the dark side of the attraction to water that some kids like Pudding have.  His own developmentally delayed son, Joey, tragically drowned, and the family subsequently created The Joey Pizzano Memorial Fund,a foundation to honour his life, improve the lives of other special needs children and their families, and help prevent such tragedies from happening again.

I was at a loss for words to express both my sorrow at his loss, and the gratitude I felt for his dedication to families like ours.  In the end he was called away to talk to somebody much more important, but the last thing he spoke of was how much he had enjoyed seeing my girl’s smile.  Only this morning did I find these words on his foundation’s site:

Joey had a bright smile, hearty laugh and a love of life that touched many people’s lives. Joey loved his family, he loved the water and he loved to swim. The Pizzano family wanted to celebrate Joey’s life through the foundation in hopes that his smile would be seen through the faces of other children with disabilities enjoying the water and their families.

I’m still at a loss for words, so I’ll leave it to the mermaid’s smile.  This one is for you, Mr. Pizzano:

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 29, 2011 at 9:25 am