Joey did some pretty amazing things this week.
He looked forward and anticipated both joy and discomfort.
He knew he was anxious, and knew exactly what he was anxious about.
He communicated that anxiety to others- us, Grandma, Ms. Macy.
He helped think up solutions for situations that he anticipated would be uncomfortable.
When he became uncomfortable, he communicated his discomfort to others.
He voiced ideas for relieving his anxiety and discomfort, and communicated what he needed effectively.
When an attempted solution didn't work, he communicated his continued discomfort.
He independently attempted calming techniques to try to alleviate his own discomfort and anxiety.
Can we all hear a collective, "WOW!!!"?
Joey and I were at the pool yesterday, as we so often are. The pool was closing at 4 for a swim meet, but that suited us fine- we had to go home and get ready to get Andy. Joey and our Awesome Neighbor jumped off the diving board a few times when we first arrived, then they headed for the shallower water as they got tired.
To my surprise, about 3:30, as I was gathering up our stuff to make room for the folks starting to arrive for the swim meet, I noticed Joey padding his way to the diving board. That's odd, I thought. He doesn't usually like to jump in the deep water when we've been here this long already.
As I set my armful of towels down, I watched him step out from the diving board, and thought, Oh, good job, jumping out instead of just stepping off.
I heard the splash. I heard the cry in his unmistakeable little voice: "Oh! Help! I'm stuck!" He was treading the water fine, but not going anywhere, and he was already tired.
Before I could set my legs in motion, the lifeguard was already leaping into the water from his high chair (did I mention how dramatic it is when the lifeguard leaps into the pool from his chair?). As I reached the edge of the pool, Joey was already holding on to the float and almost to the ladder. He climbed out as I profusely thanked the guard.
Then he turned himself, saying, "Thank you for helping me!" and he scuttled back to the shallow end and jumped in. The guard laughed.
As Joey leaps out from the safety of the board into the pool of sensory overload and input, I still get that leap of the heart until his head breaks the water again and I watch with amazement as he swims, a beginner paddle and awkward stroke, to the safety of the ladder. Yet sometimes, it's still good to have a lifeguard close by, just in case we get "stuck."
Thank you, Ms. Macy. We love you. We will miss you.