Saturday, February 27, 2010

Swim and Gym

Swim and Gym is a program through the Berkeley YMCA for Special Needs Children. It allows non members with specific qualifications to participate in their wonderful services. The program goes like this: 10:30-11:00 Swim Lessons, 11:15-12:00 Kinder Gym, Circle Time, 12:00-1:00 Parent Support Group, Child Watch. All of these three programs are amazing, and this has become our new Friday Morning Activity. However it is a very tight schedule, and makes for a stressful day, at least the three times we have done it so far. That said, each time is getting much better as we get our routine down.

Going to the pool is a lot of work, and when we were going to the warm pool, it often took me 45 minutes from pool to car, now I have 15. Also the swim class is only 30 minutes and when we get out of the pool it is really cold. So the first few times we didn't have our system perfected. This week we made it is 20 minutes, so that is an improvement, we used the stroller for Holly, changed her first and then gave her a snack. Problem is, she still cries during the hectic transition, in time I would like to minimize that.

She loves kindergym. The room is amazing as you can see by the above pictures, a big slide, an obstacle course, climbing structures, lots of gym pillows and even a bouncy house. The kids run for a few minutes, then we sit in a circle for a few songs. Next we do the parachute, and if you remember from over a year ago Holly was terrified of it, now she will sit and let the group spin her and then go underneath afterwards, she really likes it. Next is the bouncy house, and finally Bubbles and a goodbye song.

The first day she cried much of this time. one of the songs scared her, she ran into another child int he bouncer, she was hungry but too much was going on to eat. Finally we take her to child watch while the parents get to talk, this is pretty amazing and the room is so much fun. She loved it and had a lot of fun playing, the first time I took her with Kat when I filled in Paperwork. But then they told me she was under two and had to stay in the baby room. She was mad and cried 1/2 the time.

They fed us Pizza, the parent's upstairs and the kids downstairs. She was happy to eat the pizza and that calmed her down, but Kat was having a bad day, they were not set up to have "guests" and i don;t think they much liked that. But who leaves there kid in a strange environment with strange people without first letting them get used to it. Kat was there to help Holly get used to it, but apparently, parents never do that, they also don't leave snacks for there kids, I am an anomaly I suppose.

The following week I let Kat come with me to the Support Group and was told that Holly did not cry until the last 5 minutes and when I went to pick her up one of the program coordinators was holding her and rocking her. I had left a yogurt juice, but they didn't feed it to her like I asked they do if she cried. She also didn't eat any pizza on the second visit.

Today we went again and when I picked up Holly she was not crying and she was playing with markers and I received a report that she ate Pizza and they changed her diaper. So I was feeling much better about the whole thing. I think this is largely due to the fact that her birthday is in two weeks at at that age they let her leave the baby room, so she got to play everywhere. The program is free for our family and in swim class they will actually teach Holly to swim, I have met about 8 different families so far, but Holly is the youngest in the program. Even though it is free, it is like a class and we are supposed to go every week.

So that is our plan. it is hard work and tiring, as the pool really exhausts you and its first thing in the morning, also since it is so early its hard to make sure she gets breakfast before we go. Finally its downtown Berkeley, today it took us 25 minutes to park and afterwards it was a downpour and the car was 3 blocks away. We plan on sticking it out, the value is huge, she has a lot of fun, and it teaches her transitions, group participation, and to be away from mom in a preschool like setting for an hour, so more pictures too come, though I didn't even bring my camera this week, its too much extra stuff to have and lug around and in the locker room everything is in danger of getting wet, but I think as we adjust and find a rhythm I will start to bring it again.


Anonymous said...

You are so smart to have her get used to being separated for a short time, only one hour. That's great! And it looks like a wonderful facility. I'm sure she'll get used to it soon. Maybe you can smuggle some snacks for her in her pockets...
love, Granny

Bonnie said...

It looks awesome, I wish I could bring my boys somewhere like that.

M said...

How FANTASTIC. It will get easier wtih time. New routines are always tough. Despite it being crazy and hectic I'm so incredibly excited by it for you guys! I wish we had something like that here. What a tremendous resource to have available for you AND for her. <3