Nicky had his second swimming lesson today. Miraculous, I tell you! First, though, a little background for those who have tripped across this blog and don’t know the situation…

Nicky was born 12 weeks prematurely, and one of the results of this (the only one still around, really) is a combo of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and ADHD. (For a brief intro to both, read Kids in the Syndrome Mix. Your public library probably has it, and it has the best synopsis of both issues I’ve ever seen.) The SPD has been his major hurdle in life. SPD presents differently in every person who has it, and in his case, it manifests in oversensitivity to physical stimuli (including temperature, noise, and – to a lesser degree – texture), dyspraxia (weakened hand & upper body strength and the resulting fine motor issues), etc. Water on the face and head has always been a tantrum-inducing stimulus. Bath time = not fun. Shower time = let’s not even go there. Pool? Hah!!

So, combine that oversensitivity to water with a lack of pool access, and the kid – now eight years old – has spent very little time in water. This has always bothered me, mostly for safety reasons (I believe every child must be a strong swimmer), but also because I have fond memories of hundreds of hours of pool time as a kid, and I knew that if he could overcome this hurdle, he would be opening the door to endless fun. Four years ago, we enrolled him in Infant Swimming Resource, which, despite the fear and – some would say harsh – “push through it” technique to which he doesn’t usually respond well, did result in him being able to doggy paddle his way across the pool. However, as I mentioned above, we have not had regular access to a pool, and that skill was gone in a flash.

Fast forward to 2008. Our county opened up a brand-new, awesome aquatic complex just a few miles from our house. (Mom: “And this, boys, is why we pay sales tax.” Kids: “Yay, tax!”) An indoor lap pool, indoor instructional pool, and outdoor water playground (complete with floaty-currenty-river-thingy, water spraying everywhere, and kid- and adult-sized water slides) all add up to irresistible temptation, at least for me. And they offer swim lessons. Nicky had his first lesson yesterday, during which he put his face in the water a couple of times. Today, I lost track of the number of times his face got wet (on purpose)! Yesterday, after lunch, we went back and hit the outdoor play area, and wow! Both kids had a blast, and Nicky even went off on his own, bouncing his way around the river several times and basking in one of the calm pools. As we left, he declared, “Swimming is now my favorite activity in the whole world!”

More than multiple stops on the honor roll, more than his advanced blue belt in karate, more than anything else he’s accomplished to date…I am more proud of his conquering this fear than any of it.

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