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Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son
Today was a bit of a big one at Westie Central. For the first day since I came home from working in Canberra, Bec had to work, leaving me with all three kids all at once. Which of course is a Big Deal for a dad, even though I’m one of the first to say if they are my kids it’s parenting not babysitting.
There has been far too much electronic time happening in our place since Christmas (or even since Magpie’s birthday). Yesterday I thought that Bec’s return to work was a perfect opportunity to do something about that. So the kids were put on notice that once I returned from my own run, they would be coming with me for a run. So I ran my lap of the suburb, did a few chores and we hit the pavement.
There is a very convenient landmark which is almost exactly 1km from our front gate, which is right on the path of a running track. So all of us headed for that landmark (it’s a bridge), me leading he way with BTB Fan and the dogs. Given the dogs had already finished about 8km, Howie was still eager to go while Lizzie was a bit over it. Yet in only a small fraction longer a time than my standard time, there I was at that bridge with BTB Fan and two dogs.
About a minute later up came Princess P.
Several minutes later again… Magpie finally staggered up. Grumbling about not being at home.
My understanding is the run home was quicker by all parties – except me, who at this point was pushing 10km for the day, and had mown the lawn as well…
Later we headed off to the pool. Both Magpie and Princess P had been told point blank that they would be requried to swim a lap of the full size outdoor pool, because with all the pool time they have had they have spent none of it improving their swimming. I take responsibility for that, but I will reqiure them to put some effort into improving the situation in my own way, if they don’t fix it themselves.
This was accomodated quite readily by Princess P. But somewhere it seems the message had not filtered all the way into Magpie’s head.
As a result… he was less prepared than I had thought he was.
So I had my first in-pool meltdown. In front of some of his school friends, as well as a lifeguard…. Which ended with him swimming his first ever lap of the Olympic pool, back-stroke. Well done mate! At which point I told him that he needed to do it “freestyle” (meaing “front crawl“), and we had another meltdown. In the pool. But again, I perservered, and he swum the lap in the stroke I expected him to use, albeit freaking out and grabbing the lane rope every three to ten strokes.
At the end of it all, he was glad he’d done it, though.
Later, I went through much the same with my littlest Westie, “swimming” (with me supporting his hips) two lengths of the outdoor childrens pool.
Not the best trip to the pool for us. We had been going so well before Christmas, too, but with our routine broken… it was as good an opportunity to establish the routine I need these kids to follow, if they want me to take them to the pool every day while it’s hot and I’m not working.
Stretching our boundaries will bring some growth. One way or another.
Today was the official first day of summer in Sydney. Crikey. We certainly knew all about it.
I headed off to the pool with Bob the Builder Fan. For whatever reason the other two kids, as well as Bec, stayed home.
I had the surprise of my life, not that my son wanted to climb into another childs inflatable pool toy… but that when he wan’t allowed to, he started making racing car noises!
While he has played pretend games in the past with objects, this is the first time I’ve seen him pretend to to be something. Of course, it may have happened without me being here, or seeing it, but today was a first for me.
Sundays are a dichotomy here at Westie Central. They always start late, peaceful and relaxed. But soon after they become chaos and mayhem.Early on, I set my goals for the day: to go to the pool and swim laps. To ensure my laundry was done for the week, and my bag packed. That I spent some time relaxing.
Simple goals. Yet children, especially it seems my children, seem to be able to complicate such simple endeavours.
It started simply enough, with breakfast. Then “a chat” about “household chores“. One of those chats that people have with their kids about a job that it would be quicker to just do the job yourself – but that is not how to teach a person anything. So we haf a similat discussion to one we have most weeks, about who washed up how many times this week and how we all need to work together if we want to do anything with our weekend like “go for a swim.” While that sorted itself out, I attended to some other chores that are not so readily delegated.
Those done, I asked who was coming to swim laps with me. I handed out another job to someone who said they would rather stay home, when @Westybec said she was going to come, too. This ended up triggering a mini meltdown and not from Bob the Builder Fan but from one of the other two, who didn’t respond well to the change in plan.
But we walked to the pool. Part way there, Bob the Builder Fan stopped with me to read a “christmas letter” sign in some random person’s front yard. While his “elastic band” is becoming quite long, he does not appreciate being left behind – ever – and he was quite upset that his mother and siblings continued on. His brother and sister are “stepping up” when it comes to helping to keep him out of harms way in public. So today, his brother and sister took turns making sure he was going through the motions of using a water slide then lining up to do it all again, while I – and Bec – swam some laps. I’m not that great a swimmer, but it felt good to do some “serious” swimming rather than just “play in the pool.” Princess P and Magpie also had a bit of a go at swimming. They are both almost pool safe…but a long way from 100m “drownproof“, and they would really like to stop swimming every third stroke while they breath.
When I had quite enough of attempting to not drown – I’m a far from elegant swimmer – I bought the youngest one home. We stopped part way to gossip about gardening, which was a welcome distraction. My son and I made it home in time to chill out, and have a post-chlorinated-pool shower, before the caphony of Princess P and Magpie returned home with their mum.
My afternoon was a pleasant relaxation, before being under the pump to get ready for my week at work.
That’s a pretty typical Westie Sunday in Sydney. I hope yours was fantastic, too.