The Roc and I survived the first week of summer “vacation.”
The Roc started sleeping in as soon as school ended. No more 5:30 am baths for him. I let him sleep.
On Monday the Roc started a two-week swim camp at the swim school he’s been attending since the fall. He was excited and nervous to be in a new lane, with a new instructor, and 2 new kids, but the lure of the water is strong and he left my side easily to get started. When it was over he was happy and told me it was because he got to do new stuff. He is in a new “level” for this camp and will be working on the front-crawl, the backstroke, and swimming underwater.
He loves the water and allowed the instructor to move and guide him in ways he never lets me when we go to the pool together. The last two lessons of the week I grin watching him try to propel himself downward to grab a ring off the bottom of the pool, four feet down. He needed the instructor to help him get underwater, but he grabbed that ring and was all smiles when he broke the surface.
During the first lesson, another mother struck up a conversation by asking me how old the he is. When I asked the same she commented that her daughter is also seven, but very uncoordinated for her age and that swimming is very hard for her. I mention that it is hard for the Roc too and she tells me that her daughter was a micro-preemie, born at 24 weeks, she spent over 100 days in the NICU, and her only real lasting “issue” is with gross motor. She said she has never looked at children the same, and cannot believe how much most people take for granted in regards to their children. That after all her daughter has overcome, she takes nothing for granted. I tell her I understand on a cellular level, down to my toes, exactly what she is getting at as my son has autism. We discussed that yes, he doesn’t look like he is autistic, but he is. She smiled as she watched him, then commented on how happy he is in the water.
We sat together for the rest of the week.
Also on Monday, The Roc started the first of his once-a-week “friendship club.” He was nervous to leave me in the lobby and after a few contorted facial expressions and five glances back over his shoulder, he went with the therapist. I blew out a deep breath when he disappeared from view and made eye contact with the other mother who stayed behind in the waiting room. She asked me if it was the Roc’s first group of this kind and we soon exchanged that both of our boys were on the autism spectrum. We quickly got past all formalities and threw small talk out the window as we unraveled our stories in that small cheerful lobby. When the children came back the Roc thrust the puppet he made during craft time an inch from my nose and loudly proclaimed that they put on a play. He said he had a great time and would come back again.
Tuesday morning the Roc had a dental appointment to get the sealants applied to his molars and he surprised me while we waited in the lobby by building with legos in the kids corner. I had long ago given up pushing him to put small legos together, as his frustration with his fingers would cause a meltdown. I made a mental note to get some legos. I watched the anxiety sweep over him when the hygienist called his name and I reminded him to listen and follow her directions. Twenty minutes later he was back with two hygienists, they worked together to get his sealants done in half the time. They said he listened well and earned a prize from the box.
We also started our “summer school at home” this week and the Roc did well working for stickers to add to his “go to Dairy Queen chart.” I wonder how long he will cooperate.
After the Roc’s swim lesson on Wednesday we went to my parents house. We stayed there until Saturday, house and doggy-sitting while they went up north to celebrate their anniversary. We stayed up late watching a movie that night.
After swim camp on Thursday we had to make sure we got back to my parents house in time for a meat delivery. Forty pounds of meat that my dad uses to make meals for his two dogs. Looks yummy doesn’t it?
I had to divide it into four containers. Then I let the dogs clean out the plastic tub.
The older dog got into the tub and then couldn’t get out. He is no longer able to go into reverse. I helped him.
The Roc and I had been together non-stop and needed to get out of the house, so on Friday we went to the park and watched the water flow over the dam.
Later we met up with two of my girlfriends from high school. The Roc was nervous to go, but he played on their play set and sat with all the kids eating dinner before they all went swimming!
When the kids were done swimming we all went inside. I thought for sure we would be leaving, thinking the Roc wouldn’t be able to handle playing inside. He proved me wrong, following my friend’s son K to his bedroom. They played together. I sat on the couch and talked to my two friends. It was a completely new moment for me as I flashed back a few years on those play dates that never went well. How the Roc used to cling to me and I would try in vain to get him interested in some toys or playing with the other kids while the other mothers sipped coffee and chatted.
The Roc and I headed back to our house on Saturday when my parents got back from their trip. On Sunday I told GC he had to bring the Roc with him to the airport when he went to drop off his friend as I needed a bit of space. GC’s friend had been in town for ten days and so I had been on “Roc duty” almost the whole time. He took him and then stopped at Toys R Us on the way home and let the Roc use his money to buy a new toy. He bought some Scooby-Doo characters and was happy to get them out of the package when they got home.
We had my parents over for dinner on Sunday night to celebrate Father’s Day. I had the Roc go into the house to get the present I had wrapped for my dad. “Is it M&Ms?!?!” he yelled as he left the porch. Luckily my dad didn’t hear him! It was M&Ms!