Thursday, June 30, 2011

Swimming and Two Eyes Sleeping

Today was a good day!
Today was a special day for us.  We were invited to come and watch Maya at her swimming lessons.  Maya has swimming lessons every Thursday, it is arranged through the school and Maya looks forward to Thursdays like no other day.  To be honest I didn't think we would ever see her at her lessons as they usually frown upon parents being at the pool, with good reason, the kids can't focus if their parents are there.  So I was very excited last week when there was a letter from Maya's school inviting us to visit the pool during swimming lessons.  Maya talks about swimming all the time but I am never quite sure if what she says can be relied upon.  Maya lives a rich fantasy life and often she will tell us things that she has seen other kids do but say she did it.  It's Maya's form of wishful thinking.  I often think this is her way of telling us she wants to learn how to do something.

Anyhoo, I am a little ashamed to admit it but I have not gone swimming with Maya since last summer during our idyllic two weeks in the French countryside, complete with antique farmhouse, pool, English tv (for anyone in France you know how hard English tv is to come by) and the most star filled nights ever.   Last year Maya loved the water but would not venture in the pool without water wings and an inner tube, her idea of swimming was pretty much just floating around.  Our former manny who often went swimming with her also did not say much about her improving and actually the last time he took her he asked us to buy her new water wings.  He looked disappointed when I told him that she outgrew them and that I wasn't into buying new ones as I really wanted her to start swimming on her own and the more she relied on wings and an inner tube the more it delayed that.  He looked a little disappointed since Maya sans wings meant he had to stick close by her at all times when she was in the water.  Hmmmmm, maybe water wings is the reason he left us.

Still, I had no idea what to expect today.

We didn't really prepare Maya for today as we normally would have because of her impetigo I didn't want to build her up for swimming today only for her to potentially be disappointed if she couldn't go to school or if they wouldn't let her swim because of the impetigo.  Maya's latest round of impetigo was not as severe as the last one, she didn't get nearly the number of sores but she had two really awful sores right at the rim of each eye which made it uncomfortable for her and was very hard to clean.  The doctor told me I could only clean it with warm water.  And while her other spots were getting better the ones near the eye had no change at all, even after two full days on antibiotics.  In anticipation of the lesson today I asked Maya's doctor on Monday if she would be able to swim today  and he said she could swim after a full 24 hours on antibiotics, but still a part of me was afraid that they would see my daughter and mistake her for The Fly and not let her swim.  Plus they chlorinate the hell out of those pools in the Netherlands, being in an indoor pool is like renting an apartment inside a Chlorox bottle (that's bleach for all you non-Americans), there is nothing living in those pools believe me.  But when Leo and I pulled up to the pool and the bus from Maya's school had just arrived I was relieved that she was there with her bathing suit ready to swim.  The kids went and changed clothes and we were ushered to the balcony above the main pool to wait until the kids arrived.  While we waited another swim class obviously done for the year handed out swimming certificates to their students which signified that they earned the first of 3 possible swimming diplomas in the Netherlands.  For a second I wondered if Maya really could have progressed from inner tube to swimming in 8 ft deep water in a few months' time but then my morning coffee finally kicked in and realized that wasn't happening today (DUH, WINNING).

After a few minutes the kids came out and one of the teachers from Maya's pool told us that Maya takes her lessons in the more shallow pool (4 ft) and so we walked there.  Maya was in the water at the side of the pool laying on her back and kicking and then flipping on her belly and kicking with about 6 other kids and two instructors.  It was really nice seeing her follow the teacher's instructions and we got about 28 seconds of enjoyment until Maya saw us, ran out of the pool and hugged us (and getting us sopping wet).  She then bustled back into the pool and continued, first kicking, then bouncing up and down and putting her head under the water, then with small kickboards she kicked her way to and fro about a hundred times sometimes putting her head under the water and sometimes not, all the while completely focused on us running almost out of the pool every few minutes (the teachers must dread parents day at the pool the same way as when I worked in the restaurant business I dreaded mothers day).  Still it was great to see her being so happy and so proud of herself.  She was beaming, so much light was practically emanating from her head.  Leo and I both said to each other at different times that she came a very long way from just floating around in an inner tube.  At one point during the lesson  they brought this kind of pole which sits on the water and underneath the pole is a circle for you to go under water and swim through.  When I saw it I thought, "no way is Maya going under there." And indeed when it went in the pool I saw Maya give it her patented  "no way in hell look".  The kids lined up for it but Maya was just jumping around.  Finally when it was her turn they tried to get her to first go over the pole which she did easily.  Then they got her to pull herself over the pole and finally they tried to get her under the water to swim through the circle.  The first time one of the instructors held her hand and pulled her through the circle and then Maya eagerly took about 10 more turns

As I was watching her I was again marveled at just how much she has moved forward, a year ago she wouldn't even sit at the steps of a pool without an inner tube and now she was jumping in and out of the water.  It's not quite swimming yet, but she is on her way.

We took a bunch of videos but it was chaos there at the pool, but here is one just to give you an idea.

And to boot the chlorine performed magic as Maya's impetigo is 80% improved since she has been in the pool.  There's hardly anything under her eyes now.  When I saw her after work I told her it looked so much better and showed her in the mirror and she said "I am so relieved, now my eyes can get a good night's sleep."

Why use antibiotics when chlorine works great?

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