Last year on our vacation we went on a Dune Buggy Ride near Silver Lake, MI. I am not sure what I was thinking it would be like, but it was like riding a roller coaster. I enjoyed it immensely, and so did both of my boys, including my kiddo with defensive SPD!!!! Had I known ahead of time what the ride was like, I know I would have vetoed the event, and kept my son from an experience he LOVED and talked about for months.
Fast forward to this year and 8 more months of therapy. My son, who still has to wear a visor when we wash his hair, learned to “swim” with his life vest on. We no longer have to hold onto him and reassure him that he will be fine, like we did 2 years ago. In fact, 2 years ago we had to drag him in the pool, crying and fussing. Just this past Saturday, he JUMPED into the 5 ft end of pool!!!!! He didn’t announce it or otherwise let us know he was gonna do it, he just did it! He was wearing his vest so he popped right back up, spluttering a bit. He then happily announced I went under the water and didn’t cry! No but his momma did a bit-I was so proud of him!!!! He only did it that one time, but that was one more time that I ever thought he would do! Maybe it’s time to try swim lessons again?
What does all of this mean for me the momma? I am learning not to “over-protect” him. This is so hard for me to learn! When he jumped in the pool, I told my husband, who was closer to him at the time, to grab him as he came up. My husband told me to “chill out” that our son was fine, and he was. It also means not putting up barriers for him. He will have some, but it’s letting him decide where they are going to be. It’s letting him and even encouraging him to step outside his comfort zone. It’s providing a varied experiences for him to see, hear, try new things. It’s always believing he can, even when he doesn’t. I know that all parents struggle with this, but I think parents of kids with special needs struggle with this even more! I have to learn to step back and encourage, because you never know when your child is going to surprise you with something amazing!!!!