Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Which I Take Connor To The Pool And Am An Evil Horrible Mom

Last night Connor stayed awake until a glorious five in the morning, so this is going to be short.  I need my beauty sleep!

He had three little seizures today and was pretty tired, for obvious reasons.  I decided I was going to take him out anyway, though, because I wanted to make dang sure he'd sleep tonight.  He's got school tomorrow and I was not having the kid fall asleep at five and wake up at seven.  I picked the most strenuous, sensory-high activity I thought he could handle today; we went swimming.

Swimming is not only a physical workout (we do a lot of standing, kicking, splashing etc in the pool) but also a major sensory workout for Connor-- especially when it's warm outside so there are a ton of kids in the toddler pool.  Our local pool is indoors, which means that there are a whole lot of echoes and the noise can be pretty overwhelming.  Connor usually freaks out a little when we get in, but today the pool was especially busy and his lack of sleep probably didn't help.  Basically I picked him up, walked into the pool with him, stood him up about waist deep in the lukewarm water, and watched his little face crumple like an empty brown paper bag.

So we sat in a corner of the pool and rocked for about ten minutes while Connor hid his face in my chest and cried huge, silent tears.  Every once in a while he looked up at me with a quivering lip, his expression telling me that his mother, who he loved and trusted with all his heart, had committed the Ultimate Betrayal, thereby making me feel like the Worst Mom The World Has Ever Known.  He's so good natured and sweet that when he does have the occasional rare meltdown it's really hard for me to not just immediately stop whatever activity it is that we're doing even if it's something that's good for him.  But he hadn't done any other sensory or therapy work today, so I knew I needed to stick with it. 

Sometimes being a good mom means that your kid won't like you very much.  That's the way it goes.

I told myself that if we sat quietly for long enough he'd eventually calm down and adjust to the pool.  And that's exactly what happened.  Oh, don't get me wrong-- he still wasn't exactly overjoyed with the idea of being at the pool.  But he stopped crying once he figured out that the other children were actually kids like him and not, say, oversized piranhas who planned to strip the meat off his bones in less than three minutes if they got within five feet of him. 

Once he relaxed just enough to stop jamming his nose into my collarbone I changed his position and helped him float around the pool on his back, which calmed him down quite a bit more.  I think a combination of things made the sensory input not quite so overwhelming.  His ears were underwater so the noise was muffled a little, and instead of staring at all the Scary Splashing Piranha Children Of Doom he could look at either a nice, calming ceiling complete with skylight (one of Connor's favorite things in the world-- he loves skylights) or he could watch my face.  And then after some floating time he was able to do be upright again and do some of his standing and balance exercises, though we held off on the splashing and kicking as I didn't want to push him really hard today.  Splashing is one of the things he has the worst time with because he really doesn't like getting water on his face.  We did do a little gentle bouncing, and a couple of times he even cracked a smile.  We stuck to the quiet part of the pool away from the other kids, and other than a Giant Splashy Inflatable Ball of Iniquity that landed too close to him and almost triggered another meltdown, he seemed to think things were okay.  Towards the end of his pool time he even shifted his weight around on his feet a little and put his hands on my shoulders to keep his balance! 

We ended up spending about an hour in the pool, and he was pretty exhausted by the time we got out so hopefully he'll actually sleep tonight.  Which is what I'm going to go do now, because I'm also pretty tired. 

Good night!


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