Since we are now in August, we are beginning to experience some of our Summer “lasts”. We went on our last trip of the summer and in two weeks we have our last OT visit.
Today, we had the last swimming lesson of the season.
I would be lying if I said that I loved taking my son to an 8:00 am swimming lesson. We have this early time because private lessons work so much better for my TBP. We live 25 minutes away and this requires that we abandon our leisurely summer morning for a quick breakfast, get dressed and grab your flip-flops experience. It is a wonder that I remember his swimming bag since this exit is typically done without coffee.
This morning, my son raced downstairs and started video games. He did this without consulting me first and I knew where this was headed. He started a game that typically requires more time than we had and that often resulted in frustration.
Trying to problem solve after just waking up is not easy for me, but I realized that a smoothie was he best way to get him a nutritious breakfast. The blender sounded especially loud as I added the necessary ingredients. Between the blender and the dog barking, it was sensory overload.
With fifteen minutes before departure time, I knew that he must drink the smoothie and recover from any of the game disappointment if our (I mean his) lesson was to go well. The pressure was mounting…not for him, but for me. We had already been previously late more than once and I wanted to end the season on a high note. I wanted this last lesson to be worth the time, energy, and money.
Sausage…he needs sausage. I heated up the sausage as I watched the clock. My stress rising while he defended his need to keep playing. He began to go into his speech about hating to stop anything in the middle. Reminding me that the game was important to him and that all of his work would be for nothing if he quit now.
Honestly, I was only half way listening as I saw another minute pass and I put two sausages on his plate.
My reminders were now demands and the voice that I used was my “I mean it now” voice. This voice doesn’t usually help the situation…sometimes it escalates it.
“FINE!” He turns to me and his character is instantly killed. His frustration is now turned on me for distracting him and forcing him to stop when he could have been the victor. He doesn’t care that we should have left 5 minutes ago. It doesn’t affect him when I worry about the road that is known for construction that we must take to the lesson.
We walk (stomp) to the car and in silence we drive. At this point, we both must feel regret because he explains in a calm and reasonable voice about his feelings and I do the same. He tells me that he feels that I don’t value his hard work and I guess, that I don’t see it as work. He listens as I explain with quiet voice and a calm body that I want him to do well during the lesson and that I know from experience what helps to secure a successful lesson.
We are both quiet and think about the others words.
When we arrive at the lesson. I am nervous. A rocky morning like ours does not usually make for cooperation and listening to suggestions. To my surprise, he had the best lesson of the season and the teacher comments on his strength and determination.
At one point, he looked at me and gave me a thumbs up and I returned the gesture with an added smile. He puffed up more with each compliment and tried to surpass his instructor’s expectations.
When he got out of the pool, he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry about this morning. I didn’t want to let you down.” He waddled off with his clothes in hand and I noticed how tall and mature he looked from the back.
Last year, a morning like today’s would have impacted the lesson and long after. That is the true sign of progress and today, I think that he is the Victor!