Why "Running with Bunions"?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Presuming Competence in the Summer

With Super Daddy
Wonder Boy rushes into the pool at the shallow-to-deep beach entrance. Water splashes about his knees, hips, belly, circles his neck.

He chortles, eyes closed. He is glee, delight, joy, mirth.

Amaze Girl wears goggles over her eyes and nose. She jumps, ducks, submerges, flips, “tea partys,” “mermaids,” floats. Horizontal in over-her-head water, she kicks her feet. Arms circle her head; one in the air, the other under water. Her body glides across the short end of the pool.
Amaze Girl swims
 Close between them, my heart dances. Even as my over-(grand)parental, hyper-vigilant, two-kids-in-the-pool anxiety rises.

Wonder Boy splashes to the water’s edge. He pulls himself up and stands on the precipice. He points at me, shouts, “Stay Away!” Then?

He jumps.

Liquid whirlpools over his submerged head and body. I count: 1…2…3…4… My heart flutters, metabolism rises. Finally, Wonder Boy’s head pops up. There is exuberance. Joy. Laughter.

The two previous summers, twice a week for a month, Wonder Boy enjoyed expensive, private, “autism swim” instruction in an Olympic-sized pool. He loved the water and individual attention. But he didn’t learn to swim.

Amaze Girl had joined a swim class. It was a great time! But she didn’t learn to swim either.

This year, we presumed the children’s pool competence with regular swim and little actual instruction. With supervision and encouragement, Wonder Boy investigated the water. Amaze Girl frolicked. And when they were ready? They began to swim.

To presume competence is to expect that he can. And to seek the enabling connection, with love and patience, until he does.

Our family summer is overtaken by an addition to our house: plumbers hauling pipe, electricians running wire, carpenters drilling, Super Daddy and Pop hammering, hauling, sawing. Machines, trucks, cranes, mountains of displaced earth. A dumpster and toilet in the driveway.

Still, we’ve made time for what’s important: swim, books, pencils, crayon, piano, running, climbing, digging, reading. A Royals’ game; a visit to see the Great Grands. Togetherness.
fuzzy family
Wonder Boy chooses a book. With help, he points to each word: “Thomas can go.” In the phonics area on his talker he types: c-a-n.

“Kuh-aaa-nnn, can,” says the machine.

“Kuh-aaa-nnn, can,” says Wonder Boy.

He points to another word: “guh-o,” he says, without prompting. “Go.” My heart swells.

Amaze Girl reads. She practices cursive handwriting and multiplication facts to 12. She transposes and notates music and memorizes a song on the piano.

Wonder Boy ties his own shoes. Makes his own bed. Dries himself following a bath. On the piano he’s learned “Middle C Position.” He names notes, claps rhythm and plays “B-I-N-G-O” with help.

At the pool, Amaze Girl kicks and splashes while Wonder Boy treads water vertically. His feet pump like pistons, hands paddle at his chest. He swims to the wall, pulls himself out of the pool and crouches, arms extended. He points at me and laughs.

“I know,” I say. “Stay away!”

“Yes,” he says. Giggles trail like bubbles as he leaps into the mist.
Swimming with Auntie Dimples


Charles Hedrick said...

I am tired out just reading the essay. Worrying about kids is especially emotionally draining.

Kay said...

LOL, Wonder Boy has got your number! Stay Away! :) Sounds like a wonderful summer!