Monday, September 17, 2007

We Might Have to Make Do With the Bathtub


I couldn't let it go last night. I kept asking Nik to describe for me how everything transpired at the pool. There were a lot of tears, a lot of protests and through it all Oliver kept his hands clamped tightly over his ears.

I wanted to say that we would just keep trying but if the noise were truly that upsetting I wondered if attempting to "de-sensitize" him would just be cruel.

So before going to bed I sent off an e-mail to the director of a local health facility describing our situation and asked if they would consider donating a membership to us (it is quite expensive). In the morning I got a response asking us to come in, get a tour of the facilities, and fill out an application. It isn't a sure thing because our request has to go before a committee, but I'm so glad I thought to ask.


I've been thinking lately about how to organize our time now that it is just me and the kids at home everyday. It's easy to just kind of go with the flow and not worry about structure. But I decided a few weeks ago that I needed a bit more organization to make sure that the time we spend together is more purposeful. So I sketched out a rough schedule for the week and given how much Oliver has come to love the pool, swimming figured prominently in the week.

But what is that they say about the best laid plans?

The pool opened today under a bubble. And Oliver would not go inside. Nik was with the two boys and reported that he tried all sorts of strategies to convince him that it was OK. But once inside Oliver could only curl up in a ball with his hands over his ears and a towel wrapped around his head. Apparently the sound of the air pumps keeping the bubble inflated is too much for him.

I'm not sure if we should try again. I may give it a shot and see if his sensitivity to the noise might lessen if he grows used to it.

Otherwise, I'm afraid I'll have a fish out of water for the next nine months.


  1. Oh no!

    Try again, maybe even a few more times. You never know. He may get used to it, especially if he eventually goes into the water, he may be able to drown out the noise if he goes under to swim.

    Sorry :(

  2. Poor little guy! Oh yes, keep trying. Hopefully his love of swimming will win.

  3. Oh no! I think (hope) Oliver will become de-sensitized to the sound. The pool where Henry takes his lessons has a painfully loud fan that runs in fits and starts. But the pool is such a draw that Henry is able to overlook it. He also hates the wind tunnel that occurs when we walk into the aquarium building at the zoo- lots of loud rushing air. Henry just puts his head down and covers his ears and moves fast.

    Maybe if you talk for a couple days about the "new" pool and what to expect it will be no problem next time.

  4. Maybe there is a gradual way your could de-sensitize him--just going for a minute or two, and then build up gradually. One of my guys is able to get used to some things this way.

    That must be frustrating, since he loves the pool so much!

  5. You are so clever! I love your idea and I'd be willing to bet you get that membership.

    Seriously, good for you Christine, Oliver is one lucky little guy.

  6. My fingers are crossed for the memebership. Oliver is so lucky to have such a great mommy who is looking out for him!

  7. My daughter used to experience serious sensory overload at the pool, too. I am glad you're going to persevere.

  8. LOL...I emailed but never commented. Wanted to wish you luck with the membership request and tour and all...please keep us posted!

  9. One thing that has helped us get through some of these shake ups is a full fledged college style education on the event. What do I mean?

    I do social stories for everything these days. I would have a picture of before and after. I would try to make sure that he knows that it is the same pool he loved. The "change" might have freaked him out. He may not have even realized it was going to be different! A change like that has to be unsettling! Then I would explain why they need the bubble (so we can swim when it is cold). Then I would ask if he could look at the pumps that are making the noise and keeping it inflated.

    Now I know that is easier said than done. Perhaps instead of physically seeing them you can have pictures or movies. JP had a very similar love hate relationship with those inflatable bouncers. We video taped one being inflated and a close up of the pump.

    Initially he watched it from the next room because it was too scary. But the more he watched it the less scary. It is almost like the repeated exposure (on the video where he knows there will not be a variance) desensitized him.

    Anyway, the membership would be great but if not maybe these ideas will help???