Today our homeschool group has an outing scheduled at the local outdoor aquatic center. It’s a nice place, with waterslides, a large zero-entry pool with fountains and mini-slides, a little room for real swimming, the works. It tends to be very bright and burn-inducing, because people in Michigan don’t think about sun and shade the way southerners do. I think they built it in the middle of an old farm field. It is fun for the kids, though, especially since Brenden doesn’t break out in hives from the water temperature anymore.
But then there’s Kender.
Kender doesn’t always do well at waterparks. The noise of all the splashing water and shouting people gets to him very quickly, especially if its indoors where the noise echoes and feeds on itself. Even an outdoor pool can be difficult with him. He doesn’t last long before shutting down. Then he curls into a ball against my chest and refuses to respond to anybody or anything, and he stays that way until long after we’ve left the area.
For one reason and another, we’ve only been to a couple of the homeschool swim days, even though they are a monthly event in the summer and often in the winter as well. Until this year, Brenden’s allergy meant that we couldn’t possibly swim unless the air temperature was at least 80 degrees, preferably 90, which ruled out a lot of swim days. Last year, the swim days were plagued by bad weather. The one time I did take the kids to the outdoor aquatic center was on a day when Brian was home from work so I didn’t have to take Kender. Over the winter, I did take the kids to an indoor aquatic day. Kender almost drowned just from tripping in shallow water, and then he shut down from the noise.
Today, I first have to decide whether or not to take Kender. Not taking him just doesn’t seem fair. I’ve always tried to operate on the ideal of doing everything that everybody else does, my situation be damned. I took the triplets shopping, to restaurants, to the park when they were babies. I went on road trips with four and five small children. I’ve always tried not to let having triplets, having disabled children, having lots of children keep me from doing something. On that principle, I can’t leave him at home just because taking him would be hard.
Once I decide to take him, though, I have to plan around that. I have to be hands-on with him and only him the whole time we are there, even though I will have another non-swimmer with me. I have to keep everybody else within earshot so I can gather them and leave when Kender shuts down. I have to decide how to dress him since he is not potty-trained, whether to put him in a swim diaper that is too small or trust him not to go in the pool. I’m leaning toward the latter, because he really doesn’t like to go away from home or in stressful places, and he’s getting too big for swim diapers. I probably need to plan on a treat of some kind for the other kids, for making them leave before they are ready.
Hopefully today will go well.