Back in the routine

Our vacation in New Smyrna Beach was short-lived and slightly stressful. I don’t feel rested a bit because I couldn’t get away from work (the price of being an online teacher, I guess) and other tensions that built over the week. But Shade got a lot out of his time off.

Besides having a break from the strains of class schedules, homework, therapies and exercising, which can wear him out physically and mentally, Shade was able to practice his standing and swimming in the pool almost every day. This doesn’t feel like boring therapy to him. It’s just fun. (We’ll keep it our little secret that it’s therapy.) Aitza let him use her old swim goggles (She used to be a competitive swimmer!), which actually fit him so he didn’t get chlorinated red eye and he spent quite a bit of time with his head under. He can hold his breath for over a minute and can easily swim the length of the pool in one breath. He even did a couple lengths with Mayan holding onto his back. He got to the point where we felt comfortable not having to be at his side every second. Aitza and I were still there all the time, but we didn’t need to hold him or swim within a foot of him. In the pool, Shade is able to keep up with his friends and walk around with them. Granted, his walking is very erratic and he often lurches sideways and loses balance, but he soon rights himself and he can keep his head above the surface. It’s like walking therapy on the moon. Too bad we can’t turn down the gravity at home so that he could walk easier.

All that pool time built up his hip muscles and now he can stand for a minute without assistance. We showed off his talent to Dadabob a few nights after we returned. Of course, Shade had no interest in entertaining anyone with his feats of standing. He was more concerned with watching the cartoon on the TV behind him. So he turned his upper torso to watch the show while keeping his feet planted. That means one minute of not only standing, but also looking behind in an awkward position for an extended period without losing balance. He wasn’t focusing on trying to stand either. It was very natural.

Shades therapists at rehab and trainers at the Y both noted his added strength and focus (and tan). I’m hoping for a new rise in abilities in the upcoming weeks. Standing, after all, is the gateway drug to walking, then hopping, jump rope, break dancing, kung fu, parkour …

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