I’ve been thinking this week about milestones. Little Legs was three and a half when she came home. Despite lots of her development being delayed, we met her too late to experience most of her small person milestones.
She hadn’t been walking independently for long when we met her, though you wouldn’t know it now to see her legging it around after her sisters! She was still in nappies when she came home, and pretty much toilet trained herself over Christmas last year. We still have the dummy to work through and get rid of, but she is too dependent on it for sensory reasons to think about taking it away at this point.
But there are so so many of these milestones that we still have to celebrate together. She is amazing and doing new things for the first time almost every week.
Over the last year, Little Legs has been welcomed into the fold at our local leisure centre. So many of the staff know who she is and wave or high five her when they see her. There are even a couple who come to see her in her lesson some weeks, so she can show them the progress she is making!
She has become firm friends with the swimming lesson coordinator, who is also the swim club head coach for her big sisters. She is the most lovely lady who has taken time to work with Little Legs and build her confidence so much. Little Legs trusts her implicitly.
We started Little Legs in pre-school swimming lessons last October, in order to try and develop her gross motor skills and her overall strength. Her class was made up of four children with one teacher in the water. It also took place in the morning rather than the usual after school time, all of which made it easier for her. She tires quickly over the day and still often needs ‘rest time’ after lunch.
Before the summer holidays she had reached an impasse, possibly related to her going through a phase of processing all of the changes she had been through over the last year or so. We had noticed a change in behaviour at home and in her sleeping patterns that we finding hard to deal with, and this seemed to be mirrored in her refusal to really engage in her swimming lessons.
We spoke to our lovely coordinator lady, who suggested switching her from a pre-school class (which they had let her stay in despite being a bit too old) to a regular Wave One class. The coordinator suggested she take Little Legs in to meet the teacher and show her what happens in that class.
The following week she met us at the gate to the pool and took Little Legs onto the poolside. And she simply hasn’t looked back.
Over the summer she has done seven lessons in Wave One. There are three children and two teachers in her class. She is thriving. We also signed her up for a week of swimming intensives in the middle of August when she swam every morning for a half hour lesson. There were ten children in the class with three teachers and I was quite nervous about whether she would cope, but she wasn’t fazed at all.
We’ve also had a giant fastset paddling pool up in the garden whenever the weather was slightly close to warm enough! Little Legs has spent hours in there with one or more of her sisters, bobbing around in arm bands and ‘practising her swimming’. She’s learnt to put her face in the water more, to hold her breath and swim underneath a pool noodle, how goggles can help you to see under water and how long she can hold her breath for.
And this week, after seven Wave One lessons, she was thrilled to progress into a Wave Two swimming class! After her class, one of the teachers gave her a slip with her name on saying that she is ready for the next level class. She now has her Wave One certificate and badge, which she was showing to everyone at the pool today when she came to watch her big sisters swimming in club training!
We think we may have a fourth water baby on our hands!