As a child, I spent a lot of my time in the water. I swam most days on school holidays in summer schemes and on weekends through term time. I also went swimming with school as part of physical education (the dreaded PE!). Although my heart was in horse riding, swimming was a strong second hobby that stuck with me through my childhood years that helped keep me healthy and active. Now that I am a mummy to six year old triplets, I am keen for them to learn to be safe around water and to enjoy the many benefits swimming offers. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful coastal town so we would fairly often have the kids down by the sea which is obviously safest when they are aware of how to keep themselves safe (even if it’s just paddling in the water there). The main obstacle to swimming for us is that one of our sons is a full time wheelchair user with very little feeling or movement below his tummy.
I’m very much of the opinion that something may look like an impossible task but that is not necessarily true. For us, we had to work out how we’d keep Jacob safe in deeper water whenever he can’t feel what his legs are doing. How do you balance and keep your nose above water if you aren’t able to self propel your body? Left alone, it would be an incredibly dangerous task. Thankfully, our little man is never alone!
After a lot of searching and asking other people’s opinions, we found a small independent swimming school and got the triplets private lessons. Ben and Chloe have one instructor while Jacob has another who concentrates completely on keeping him safe. Along with the physical challenges are behavioural considerations, such as him being very impulsive and at times sadly quite angry.
I didn’t really know what to expect with the swimming but thought it was important we at least let him try it. Aren’t we glad we did as he is absolutely excelling! He can dive under to get a sinker toy, which is something I never knew if I’d ever see because of his physical challenges. He’ll also twist and turn to get from one side of the pool to the other, while being brave enough to put his face under the surface whenever needed. What an absolute superstar he is! Both the instructors are phenomenal at teaching while keeping it all very fun for all of us (Ryan and I get to watch and be soaked from the poolside!). It isn’t exactly a “standard” swim lesson due to the way it has to be managed for Jacob’s needs, but it is normal to us which is all that matters anyway. They are all also learning to love the water and Jacob especially is finally experiencing the physical freedom that is so lacking for him on “dry land”. I hope he keeps making waves and proving that with a little flexible thinking and planning, these things really can be really amazing!