Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gym & Swim

Several, several months ago (back in April in fact), our regular YMCA was closed down. It was an older building and they could no longer keep up a standard to be on par with the other YMCA's in the area. It was a bit of a bummer because they were those closest to us and the only Y in the area that had a kiddie pool. They also had a track outside, that surrounded a lake, people could run on after signing in their kids at child watch. Not to mention they also had a hot tub and saunas.
Our final time at our old YMCA
So we switched over our membership. At this other YMCA they are also allowing people to run outside after dropping the kids in the child watch. The path isn't very interesting, but at least it's outside.
And although they don't have a kiddie pool, they do have a smaller normal pool. They also have more areas for group classes, a full size gym, and a room for gymnastics.
Ryan and I had been talking for quite some time that the we wanted to get the kids back into swim lessons. We both feel this is an important skill for children to have. After looking at the schedule they offer at the Y, and comparing it to our therapy and school schedule I found a time for our kids to enroll. What makes it better is that they offer a Gym & Swim so the kids can do a half hour of gymnastics followed by a half hour of swim lessons twice a week.
This was something I wanted to do. Gymnastics is something Will's developmental pediatrician said would benefit his motor planning and since I feel guilty Lana never gets to do anything but follow her brother around, I thought this would be right up her alley.
After our first couple sessions I wanted to run away and not claim my children. Oh, I was cringing almost the entire time. Lana would not stop touching her brother, hanging off him, pulling him, being RIGHTNEXT to him at all times. She also loves to live in her own little world and follow the beat of her own drum... not do what the teacher is telling everyone to do. And you'd think showing her "all the other kids are doing it this way" would work... but it doesn't. She has her own mind and if she doesn't want to do it that way she will fight to do it her own way.
And then William just feeds off whatever Alanna is doing. He'll almost encourage her activities and will join her so she's not alone anymore. My face was in my hands nearly the entire time. Then I'd have to step in and discipline, which is never fun with an audience.
I was trying to find a solution to the problem. I think both kids would be more successful if they were in a class without their sibling. Unfortunately, they don't offer the classes at another time that works with our schedule. Then I thought about just enrolling one of them... but my personal guilt of leaving one out prevented me from doing so. Why only sign up Will when he is always the one we schedule around for school and therapy? Why should only Alanna be signed up when this is something that helps with Will's motor planning?
In the end I kept them both in the class. I talked with the teacher and told them that if my kids are not behaving in class they are not to receive their fun stamp at the end. Amazingly, that worked... at least for a time...
Then the other week Alanna was exceptionally challenging and disobedient during gymnastics. After being put in time out once by the teacher and being removed from the class later by mom... she lost her stamp as well as the privilege of going to swim lessons. I did not allow her to put on her swim suit and she had to sit on the bench near the pool with me and another mom to watch the other kids during swim lessons. She was not happy, but she resigned herself. Since then her behavior at gymnastics got better... then it got worse. We're working on some new tactics that will hopefully continue to help. Also, we have discovered if the teachers are consistent in keeping Will and Lana separated during class they both perform and behave better.
Now with the swim lessons they are both doing pretty well. Alanna still can be a challenge to the teacher (and she's very vocal in whining when something doesn't go her way). Will is doing amazing! He can now swim a short distance unassisted! He's very comfortable in the water. I'm sure having aquatic therapy in addition to swim lessons helps. The thing is, he is always treating things as a race. Maybe it's a boy thing? He always wants to beat the kids in his class to one side of the pool or the other, or get to the toys to get first pick. Then you have Lana who is trying to drink the water, splashing others, and gets very angry is somebody else gets the purple water toy.
But, they are getting better. The first couple lessons the instructor had issues with Will and Lana messing with each other (like the time Will pushed his little sister under the water on purpose or Lana just hanging onto Will so he couldn't swim away from her). Now he also tries to keep them separated when possible. And Lana may have to spend some time sitting out of the pool or lose her opportunity to jump in the pool to straighten her out. After talking with the swim teacher recently, he said Will has maybe one or two more times of doing this level swim before he moves to the more advanced class. All he has to improve on is swimming on his back.
I do see the improvement. We'll stick with this at least until December. At that point we'll take the month off since we'll be going on vacation anyway and use that time to re-evaluate what we will do.

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