Friday, May 2, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

For some reason I always pictured myself taking swim classes with my baby, so when my neighbor told me that there were some near our house I immediately got excited!  I mean, come on, how cute are the babies you always see on television with their cute, chubby selves swimming like champs in the pool?

I signed Benny and I up to go to class every Saturday from the end of March through June.  We had to, of course, go out and buy the proper attire for swim class.  This consisted of some very cute swim shorts for The Benjamin.  They were covered in cool dude looking fishies with sunglasses on.  Daddy picked those ones out.  Apparently, they were the most "manly" looking.  Then, of course, there was a lot of other pre-class prep I had to do including checking with Ben's specialist to ensure all was good with him taking a swim class.  With the addition of his extra chromosome, I figure it doesn't hurt to ask since I don't know what I don't know!

I was so excited to take him the first day of class despite the fact that this would be the first time seeing myself in a post-baby bathing suit.  I have to say, not as bad as it could be but could still use some work.  I digress...

I put on Benny's new swim diaper and his cute little shorts, got myself all ready, and walked out into the pool area.  Ben loves baths, so I wasn't nervous about him liking the water.  I walked right on over and set down in the toddler area with him in my lap.  I was all smiles, and he was all ... well he kind of just sucked him thumbs.  We were sitting there playing in the water when all the other families started showing up for class.  Oh man was it cute baby overload!  Of course, this is when it happened.  I don't know why it always happens, but IT does.  The curse of the comparison strikes again!  Immediately all the Mama's including myself start talking about how old their babies are and this and that, but then everyone always shifts to the "MY baby is doing this, is yours?" and, "Oh, he's not doing that yet?  Ohhhh he'll get there when he gets there!".  Now, I KNOW that I am super-sensitive to this and that no one means anything by it, but I always start feeling awkward.

It was easy when Ben was a newborn, but now that he is getting older it's becoming obvious to people that he is delayed.  They always seem to go from casual conversation to whether or not I am or think I should be worried about the fact that he is or isn't doing something yet.  Then, my internal struggle begins.  I immediately wonder whether or not I just say i'm not worried, or do I tell them he has Down Syndrome?  I mean, everyone close to me already knows, but it's situations like this that seem so awkward.  I've gone both ways on it.  I have literally blurted out to complete strangers that he has Down syndrome within sentences of a casual conversation whether it pertains to said conversation or not.  If you are picturing me with an odd look on my face just blurting this out, then you are completely picking up what I am putting down.  I am sure I look/sound like a complete spaz.  Then, there are other times, when I let the conversation dance around it.  I don't say anything, yet I wonder the whole time whether or not they can tell.

Back to the pool.  As soon as the milestone talk begins I immediately said some colorful four-letter words to myself, and sat quietly.  Internally, I started to get nervous.  I was looking around.  The age for a baby to be in the swim class was six months.  The other babies were all Ben's age or younger, yet they were all sitting on their own, crawling, and some were even standing!  The anxiety was kicking in big time.  What if, even though he was 8 months old, he wasn't where he needed to be yet for this class?

Before another anxiety riddled thought could cross my mind, we began.  It was simple at first.  We sang Wheels on the Bus and splashed in the water.  Ben, was not so interested.  Then we just held the babies and walked around the lazy river.  Once again, Benny just sucked both his thumbs at the same time.  Then, it came time for the underwater dip.  Apparently, if you blow in an infants face they will close their eyes and mouths .  The instructor asked us to go first.  I was frozen.  I was so scared thinking, "What if he doesn't hold his breath? What if he is delayed with that instinct and I don't know it yet?  What if, what if WHAT IF???".  I calmly asked if we could go to the end of the line...

Baby after baby went under the water and emerged to cheers from the crowd!  YAY BABY!  They all did so good, and it was finally our time.  I was so nervous, but I walked over and set Benny up on the edge of the slide.  I looked him right in the eye and, literally, said, "Buddy, you can do ANYTHING anyone else can do!  If they can do it, you can do it!"  Ben, who had finally stopped sucking his thumbs and noticed we were doing something new, looked back at me right in the eyes as if to say, "I'm ready Mama!"  I triumphantly lifted him up, blew in his face, dunked him under, and... it scared the shit out of him.  I mean, literally, he pooped.  He started crying and looking at me like I just committed a heinous act of treason, and smelled so bad we had to leave the class early.  It literally scared the shit out of him.

After we got him all cleaned up and he was passed out cold in the car, I just began laughing.  I mean, seriously, how funny is that?  It had nothing to do with the fact that he had Down syndrome.  He is just an 8 month old baby that was dunked under the water for the first time, and got the pooped scared out of him.  THAT'S SO NORMAL!

The next class was so different.  I was calm, and didn't worry at all.  Ben was different too.  He was splashing in the water this time, and kept looking up at me like, "Wow Mama!".  Then, it came time for the dunking part.  We tried it again, and he rocked it!  My cute, cute little man!

It's crazy how jacked up my thoughts make me sometimes.  I don't ever, EVER want to hold Ben back from anything because of my own stupid fears.  I won't do that to him.  I just won't.  Just like any other kid he's gonna fall, he's gonna cry, and he's gonna learn a few things the hard way.  Every once in a while, he might even get the shit scared out of him.  My job is gonna be to wipe his butt, and make sure he does better next time!


  1. Loved this. The part about Ben's delays growing more obvious as he gets older really resonates with me as my son just turned two and is beginning to no longer look like a baby. I also appreciated your honest feelings about how conversations with other parents about milestones can get awkward- this is something ALL of us mothers can relate too. I prep myself to be confident since I am so proud of my son but it can sting from time to time. Thanks for sharing, and I just love reading your blog. It's one of the few I feel I can really relate to!

    1. Thank You so much Helen! It seems like sometimes the only way I can be totally honest with myself about my feelings is when I write. It's weird... I do a pretty dang good job of trying to think my way around those feelings, but when I am writing it just all comes out whether I want it to or not. LOL! PS...Avery is so dang cute I can't stand it! xoxo


Would love to hear your thought, comments, advice, or emotional outbursts!

-xoxo Jamie