Today something amazing happened. Both my kids swan 50 metres non-stop. Wow!
Now I realize for some of you that probably sounds normal, not something to get over-excited about. But as a mom of two sensory kids this has been a LONG journey for us, filled with lots of tears (both the kids and myself) and frustration. But if there is one thing sensory processing disorder has taught me is that you need to celebrate all the wins, even the wins that most people would not consider that important. Every one counts ! And importantly it gives you and your kids the encouragement to keep trying, keep trying those things that come natural to most kids but may be a struggle for those dealing with sensory issues.
One of the amazing things about our swimming journey that we are on has been watching their swim teacher. She is the third teacher that we have tried but she has really taken the time to understand the kids. The very first time I met her at the pool she climbed in with us and started talking to the kids and listened to them explain what they found difficult, immediately both kids were relaxed with her because she was listening. She never tried to tell my daughter that water is not sore, she never told her that the way she feels was wrong or does not matter – and believe me that is important because it builds trust. Telling a child that what they feel is not valid, is just plain wrong, it DOES NOT build trust.
I am not going to sugar-coat it and say getting the kids to this stage has been easy. It has not. They both really struggled in swimming pools for AGES. We had a number of set-backs, there were lots of time when they did not want to go to the pool or when they wanted to get out after just a few minutes. It often felt like 1 steps forwards 5 steps backwards. I got frustrated MANY times, I cried over this a number of times. It has NOT been easy. It has taken us a lot of trips to the pool where we just played and they have had a lot of lessons to get us to this point. It has been slow. Yip no sugar-coating here.
But all of that said, it has been worthwhile. All of the trips to the pool, all of the lessons (we are still having lessons so they can improve their swimming technique and learn other things – they honestly just enjoy their swimming lessons now), the tears and frustration – all of that has been worth it. Why? Well the obvious reason they can now swim by themselves (really good life skill). But more than that. They have both proved to themselves that if they work at something, something that they initially found challenging, they can succeed. They have learnt not all things happen quickly, sometimes it takes a lot longer than expected but the important thing is not to give up.
I am incredibly proud of my two kids. I am proud that they worked hard at something they found difficult and kept trying.
And I think it is a good reminder – never underestimate a determined kid!