I don’t know why it’s only just occurred to me – seven months in – that one of the activities Ellen and I could do on a Wednesday is to go swimming. Let’s face it it’s cheap (£2.70 including car parking), gives my couch-potato daugher some much needed exercise and going during the week in term time the place is practically empty.
We went to AquaVale in Aylesbury http://www.everyoneactive.com/tabid/1840/default.aspx which has a great leasure pool split into four sections and includes a lazy river and lots of whirlpools, mini slides and jets. An added bonus is it’s shallow all the way round. Although Ellen can swim, she’s not a strong swimmer as despite many many hours of lessons she preferred to develop a technique all of her own. In fact surprisingly she’s much better swimming under water than she is on top of it and loves pretending to be a dolphin. I have to be a starfish, which is not that difficult as it involves lying on my back relaxing in the water.
Still working on coordination, swimming provided lots of opportunities to work together from getting changed to shampooing our hair at the end. We put our goggles on and went underwater together and swam across the pool a few times (Ellen naturally won every time). She wasn’t keen to jump in at the same time as me, we stood together on the edge of the pool but then she gestured for me to jump in first – which I did – feeling that this was something we could work on in the future.
The game Ellen loves to play in the pool though is hide and seek. This can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if the pool is busy. It wasn’t today, but for a while I couldn’t see how I could get any of my RDI objectives covered, until I realised what great motivation the game was for her. Every time I found her I would say ‘let’s float together’ or ‘let’s jump in together’ before we hide again – and she did! One round however, I was struggling to find her. The lifeguard caught my eye ‘are you looking for the girl with the errr….’ ‘very bling costume?’ I replied (her costume is not-so-subtly covered in sparkly tigers). He grinned back and nodded ‘she went that way’ he said pointing to the changing rooms and lo and behold I found her in the toilet! After that we had a rule that the hiding had to be in the actual water and the friendly lifeguard was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction so there were no more mishaps. To my astonishment, after she had hidden a few times Ellen said to me ‘now it’s your turn to hide’ and I was given a turn 🙂 something which has never happened before. It felt like we were really playing the game together and Ellen had a great time, and so did I.
Another nice point from today was that Ellen was given an apron to wear when she works in the shop, just like all the other volunteers. She wasn’t that keen to put it on at first, but I explained that it was part of her uniform and she could take it off when she had finished her work and she obliged. I thought she looked very smart.