Sunday, July 18, 2010

In Which Connor Blows Me Out Of The Water

Connor made some big strides today!

We've been swimming periodically throughout the summer, though not as often as I would have liked; the whole seizure thing has not been something I want to deal with in a swimming pool.  But since he seemed to be adjusting relatively well to his new seizure medication (other than a little bit of crabbiness) I decided that we would give it a shot today.

He did a fantastic job!

The pool was mostly deserted today, which was great.  I've found as a general rule that the best days to hit the pool are the cloudy days like today, because even though it's an indoor pool nobody thinks to go swimming when it's gloomy outside.  Because there weren't too many other families in the pool, Connor wasn't being bombarded with loud noises and splashing, so he was able to focus really well.

We've been working a lot on floating-- Connor used to panic when I'd tilt him back in the water, even if my arms were completely supporting every inch of him.  Today it only took him about five minutes to calm down and stop trying to sit back up, and after another five minutes he relaxed completely and I was able to slowly move him through the water on his back without him tensing back up.  I eventually was able, over the course of about half an hour, to get him to float with me supporting only his head and shoulders.  That's some pretty awesome progress! 

The big news, though, was his reaction to the fountain.  There's a large fountain on one side of the toddler pool that is shaped like a giant mushroom, and the water comes out the top of the mushroom and spills down the cap, forming a circular "waterfall."  There's about a foot and a half between the waterfall and the central pole of the mushroom which catches a lot of spray but isn't in the direct flow of the water-- just enough room for Connor and I to fit underneath.  When we first started coming to the pool Connor was petrified by this fountain.  I don't think it's the waterfall itself; he loves our shower, and it's a very similar type of spray.  I think it's all of the splashing that happens when the droplets hit the surface of the pool that he doesn't care for; he absolutely despises splashing, even when he's doing it himself, so a giant ring of splashing water is not exactly his cup of tea.

We've been working on desensitization to this fountain for months now.  Every time we go to the pool we make sure to go underneath the fountain at least once.  Usually I have to work up to it-- I creep towards the fountain at a snail's pace until Connor realizes what I am doing and frantically begins signing "no no don't want hate all done."  Then we freeze for a little while and I spend a few minutes reassuring him that he is a big boy, the fountain won't hurt, we will only go in once, etc.  Once I have him calmed down, I begin stealthily inching towards the fountain again.  Finally we get close enough that we can juuuuust feel the spray, which is when Connor screws up his eyes like the droplets of water are actually miniature daggers and tenses up his entire body so it feels like instead of a toddler I am holding a three foot long piece of 2x4.  We count to "three," move under the fountain, stay in the spray-filled area underneath for about fifteen seconds, and then move back out again and to the complete opposite end of the pool, where I spend the next twenty minutes praising Connor wildly and reassuring him that we are not going to go anywhere near that evil fountain for the rest of our swim time, while the little guy stares at me accusingly and signs "No Mommy.  Want Daddy."  Because Daddy would never, ever ever make him do anything so horrible.

Well, this time I was surprised by how quickly we managed to get up to the fountain from the opposite end of the pool-- Connor only shook his head "no" once or twice instead of every three feet.  When we reached the point of no return and I told him we were counting to three, he heaved a big sigh and squinted his eyes, but he didn't tense up completely.  We ducked under the fountain, and as we sat underneath in the spray I could feel his body vibrating.  For a moment I thought he was crying, but then I looked over at his face.

The kid was laughing.   I was stunned.

I didn't want to push him, so we stayed underneath for our usual fifteen seconds or so, and then went back through the waterfall and over to the other side of the pool.  I praised the little guy copiously, and we looked back at the fountain.  "More!" Connor signed.

So we went back under three more times-- the last time staying in the spray for over a minute.  Then we did a little more floating to round things out and I decided it was time to pack things up.  We were at the pool for over an hour, by far the longest we've ever stayed, and he did an amazing job.  Of course he was completely exhausted afterwards and had a major meltdown before he went to bed, so I might have pushed him a little hard, but overall it was a great day!

Today the pool fountain, tomorrow the world!



GB's Mom said...

That is great! You given Connor another experience he can anticipate :)

Kelsey said...

Oh my gosh! How awesome!

Colleen said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful day! You are an awesome Mama!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

That is SO cool! Way to go Connor!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Three cheers!!!


Kristin said...

Yay Connor!

Kristina said...

Sounds like a wonderful day!

Julia said...

Yippeee!!! That's our boy! And I'm soooo glad the new meds seem to be working out so far.

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