So this post is going to be a little bit late. Yesterday was a busy day and the content of this post was going to depend on what happened. I haven’t gotten a chance to write it out until now, but here’s what happened:
- First, I had three paid assignments that were due. (I successfully completed two of them and put the third back in the public queue for somebody else to do, because I ran out of time and energy to complete it myself.)
- Second, I had scheduled a meeting with the Sister Missionaries from our church for 4 pm. (I met with them and it was a good meeting.)
- Third, I had to go with Alex to his first Summer Swim at 6 pm. (This is the main point of this post.)
- Fourth, I had a sleep study scheduled for 9 pm. (This is the main point of my next post.)
So, I took Alex to his Summer Swim, which is a special program arranged by the school system. Now, it’s important to know that I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for this, because I was frazzled and stressed with too many pressing demands for a single day. Alex, on the other hand, was excited. He’d been excitable all day and telling him he was going swimming sent him through the roof. Not literally, but close enough to it.
Then, we arrived at the school. Except that it was the wrong school. By this I mean we were at the correct place to attend the Summer Swim session, but it was the wrong school in Alex’s mind. You see, Alex loves to swim. He swims two to three times a week during the school year. He swims in the pool at his school. He swims with his classmates at his school. And he loves it! He actually swims. But this wasn’t his school and it wasn’t his classmates.
This was disorienting. He didn’t want to get in this pool; he wanted to get in that pool; but, I managed to get him in the pool that was available. He didn’t want to swim with these kids; he wanted to swim with those kids; and I didn’t get him to interact with any of them. He was in the pool up to his waist, but that was it. He didn’t try to swim. He was too agitated to do much of anything. He just jumped and flapped his hands and made sounds of distress.
I thought if I could get him in deeper, he’d relax and enjoy the experience. I tried to coax him to dunk himself in the water and he jumped his way to one ladder. I blocked him and he jumped his way to the other ladder. I got there before him and he turned around and went to the other ladder. We went back and forth for ten minutes. Whenever we were face to face, Alex would pinch me. Whenever I tried to soothe him with a hug or by mushing his face (which he usually likes), he tried to bite my neck or my hands.
Then, I got the brilliant idea that if I could get him to the deeper end of the pool, where there were fewer people, he’d be able to relax and enjoy it. Remember, I was frazzled and hurried. So, I grabbed him by the belt of his little life preserver and pulled him out into the deep end. At first, he seemed like he was going to relax, but after a few moments he made a bee line for the ladder again. I tried again, pulling him out to the deep end, but he made it clear he wanted to go for the ladder again.
I blocked him and the first routine started over again, but he was even more agitated, so when we made it back to the first ladder, I told him we were done. It took some coaxing to get him up the ladder, despite all his efforts to get to the ladders before. I think he realized that I wasn’t really accommodating his needs and that it was more of a punishment for poor behavior. It made getting what he wanted (or what I’d thought he wanted) less fun for him. I dried him off, dried myself off, at least enough to get in the van, and I got him out of there. We arrived at 6:10 (which was on time) and we left at 6:35 (which was early).
Now, I readily admit that I didn’t handle this well. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind – that’s not an excuse, just an observation. Luckily, we’ll have another shot on Thursday. Maybe that one will go better.