Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Swimming Lessons and Life Lessons

So the other reason I've been freaking out is called "organized group activities." Oh I HATE it! LOL. I signed Zoya up for swimming lessons for 3-5 year olds twice a week this summer. Zoya loves swimming WITH ME. After I signed her up I read more and it said "non-floaters, parents do not participate, no flotation devices" (insert record scratch here) Uhhh something about that makes me nervous!!!! 

Any new experience usually brings a little anxiety for Zoya and even if its something she's done before in a different setting sometimes she can freak herself out and not even want to try. So I'm glad to report that swimming lessons weren't a complete failure tonight! She participated with the group a bit and one of the teachers was really good with her and gave her lots of one-on-one attention. I love how Zoya watches other kids and wants to mimic them (I realize this is both good and bad haha). Even though she was hesitant about swimming lessons she watched all the other kids and tried her hardest to do what they were doing. She wanted to participate because all the other kids were. Now I do have to mention she only cried once (which was better than what I had pictured) and almost pushed another little girl into the pool after hitting her a few times and swiping her sunglasses off her face. But my friend says "no harm, no foul." LOL.

We are working on the hitting/pushing thing as Zoya has seemed to enjoy hitting/pushing other kids lately.  Not hard but not gentle either! She just can't seem to keep her hands to herself! So we've been saying "no touching just say hi." And lots of times she is just saying hi, but you can clearly see she'd rather go and squeeze the daylights out of the kid with a big hug ending in a push! It's like she tries hard not to but then can't help herself.  I think part of the reason for hitting is because she just doesn't know how else to initiate play since she can't really verbally communicate. And another reason is she is just very impulsive.  I don't think it's really a sensory thing as she doesn't hit us or any other adults...mostly people her size and smaller. (Although now that I think of it she did push an old lady in Walmart...oops). Anyways...any other mama's with advice to stop the pushing? We do time out every time she pushes but it's not exactly stopping the problem! Hopefully it's a stage and she won't be 16 still pushing people.

Back to the swimming...I made sure to tell her how proud of her I was and she did have a smile of accomplishment (after she got done crying because she didn't want to leave the pool LOL). I've always been the kind of person who avoids situations that might end in failure. I'm afraid of failure...who isn't? But me? I avoid it at all costs.  (Something I don't necessarily like about myself).  So I sometimes project that onto Zoya in fear that she will fail and avoid situations that might not turn out with Zoya succeeding. I don't want to see my kid fail even more than I don't want to see myself fail...but it's part of life and learning and growing. So I begrudgingly signed Zoya up for swimming knowing we BOTH needed it. 

My goal for Zoya in swim lessons is NOT to learn how to swim. Weird, I know. My goal is for her to try something new and not be so afraid. My goal is for her to listen to directions from someone other than Shawn and I. My goal for her is to take pride in the accomplishments she makes. My goal for her is to make a friend or two.  Somewhere along the way I've realized I need some goals for myself in respect to Zoya. When you have a child who takes a little longer to meet milestones and accomplish what seem like easy tasks for other kids, you learn a lot about pride. There are many things my kid will never be the best at--but there are a ton of things she is already the best at....like figuring out what's important in life. One of my goals for me is to not compare her to anyone else...which is very hard. I like to compare things in life to have a baseline, but Zoya has her own baseline and it's not fair to compare her to other three year olds-typical or with DS.  She is who she is and she will do what she will do in her own time in her own way.  I am so proud of her but sometimes I get into the comparing game and then I start feeling negative or stressed about all the accomplishments yet to be made.  One of my other goals for me is to give Zoya the benefit of the doubt more and give her more chances to make mistakes and be okay with that...if I'm always trying be the buffer between her and any potential problems, I'm taking away an opportunity for her to learn. If I don't have 100% confidence that my kid can be successful, then who else will? And I have just one small goal for the rest of the world...to see Zoya for all that she can do instead of all that she can't do! (Just a little goal there).

So as I sat (okay so I nervously walked around the pool) and watched Zoya...as hard as it was to step back and let her just do her thing-failures as well as successes--I took so much pride in watching her try new things. It was hard when she cried because she didn't want to participate when it was her turn, but the tears only gave me a bigger sense of success when she DID participate for the rest of the class.  I was thrilled to watch her want to get in line with the other kids and try to jump into the pool like them even though she has no idea how to jump. Other parents on the outside may have seen our evening as a failure but in my book it was a beautiful success.  It's all about perspective.  Miss Zoya has taught me to see from a brand-spanking new pair of glasses and it's a beautiful world through those lenses! I wish I could pass the glasses around to others so they could see what we see. In time those who have the chance to get to know Zoya will earn their very own pair of special glasses too and they will be forever changed because of her.


  1. Wow, Zoya I'm so proud of you.

    Mommy you did a great job!

  2. Those glasses are precious and the world takes on a wild, wonderful viewpoint when we see what our kids see. Way to go, Zoya and way to go, Mama!!!

  3. Maybe you should set a goal of trying something new every so often. It is okay to fail you know.....if you never fail you aren't reaching high enough.
    Sunnie in NC

  4. Look at her sitting there with the other kids! When reading your post first I pictured her not participating at all, but she looks so cute with the other kids. Guess what...kids push other kids. They even bite other kids, be happy she hasn't learned that yet. :-) Take a deep breath, Sarah! You and Shawn are doing a great job with Zoya, she is funny, personable, smart, so adorable that it gives us tears to read of her adventures. No one is 100% sure what they do is best, "baptism by fire" we all go/went thru it.

    Sue M.

  5. way to go!!

    does she knows how to act gentle if you tell her? with Elias we did A LOT of be gentle, and we holded his hand and we teached him how to be "gentle"

  6. I think you just wrote this blog for me, LOL! It's exactly what's been going on in my head/heart. It's hard wanting nothing but the best for our kids, but you are right they have to fail. Beautifully written.
    PS. Look into Youth Athletes Program through Special Olympics. Its for kids 2-6yrs old. Bryce started just completed it, it's 10weeks. They learn "team"player, following direction, it was GREAT!
    :) Kim