Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We are in our second week of swimming lessons. Antalya and I registered for a two-week parent and tot class at the community pool. Antalya has never had a fear of water - quite the opposite, in fact. She loves being in water so much, that even the sensation of drowning is fun to her. She will happily throw her face in water, come up choking and coughing from swallowing so much, and then do it again if we don't stop her.

It has been an interesting experience for me. It has brought up some of the sensitivities I have been feeling for several months about how other people perceive me and the actions of my daughter. For example, I wonder if the stranger at the park thinks I am an awful mother because Antalya likes to chew on the wood chips (yes, I know they are not only a choking hazard, but also very unsanitary, but try as I might, Antalya only sees them as oral stimulation), or if the person in the passing car thinks I am cruel to put a harness with a leash on my daughter when we are in the front yard playing, or if the family sitting next to us in church wonders why I haven't taught the importance of reverence to my daughter, the list goes on and on.

Going back to swimming lessons - for some reason being in the class has helped me come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what anyone else may think. All I have to do is focus on doing what is right for my daughter - knowing that the expectations I set for her are different than what other parents have set for their children. I don't expect to understand what it is like for another parent to teach their child, just as I don't expect other parents to understand what it is like teaching Antalya. All that matters is doing the very best we can given our own set of challenges.

Has Antalya mastered as many skills in the swimming class as her peers? No. But that is alright. She is still doing amazing and I am surprised at how much she has learned in just a few short lessons. I didn't go into the class expecting her to master swimming to the side of the pool by herself. I knew my expectations would be different than the other moms in the class. Gratefully, I can now feel at peace over the expectations I do place on Antalya, knowing that it matters very little how other people perceive it.


Debbie said...

How fun to take swimming lessons together! Tyce and I are doing it this year too and we're having a fun time together. I'm sad I didn't do it with Kalyana but it's fun to get the chance to do it with my other kids.

It is always interesting to me to hear the view of other mothers because more often then not I feel a similarity to them. It's interesting too that we all question (a little, sometimes) what others thing of us and/or our children. I guess it comes with the territory of motherhood.

You're a fabulous mother and a wonderful example to me.

Dehner Family said...

I think you are a great mom. I've seen you in action and I doubt there is a person out there that can't see how much you love your daughter from a mile away! BTW- You are such a cute pregnant lady. Your belly is perfectly round!

Michelle said...

wonderfully written post! I find myself worrying too much about what other people might be thinking too, I need to remind myself it just doesn't matter!

Alexis 18 said...

I so understand how you feel. Just today our realtor said "Leah has a new pair of shoes on" yup that's right Leah wears one pair of shoes, not that I don't have lots of shoes for her cause I do, she just refuses to keep them on and the only ones she will keep on are the ugly white walking boots that I have for her-she even wears them to church w/her cute church dresses! LOL. I see people look at me and judge me not only because of Leah but because I have 4 kids and they are crazy at all times. But I try my hardest and I figure there still alive, they may have some bumps and bruises that could have been avoided but there alive and I love them and we have a good time! Keep up the good work and just know w/the second on the way you become so much more relaxed(or in my case lazy!). LOL.

Strawberry Girl said...

Awww Sunny, you know, I often feel the same way. I'm always lookin' at you with Antalya and thinkin' man I wish I was as good of a mom as that!! So I guess we all have those kinds of feelings. :0)

datri said...

Since Kayla has autism in addition to Down syndrome, she's VERY different. She also eats wood chips, but also flaps, shakes her head, and rocks. She's five and nonverbal. Over the years I've learned to grow a thick skin and just not worry about other people.

Jeana said...

I came across this quote from mother teresa when I first found out that my daughter had down sydrome, and it runs through my mind about so many different aspects in my life. Especially when I start to worry about what other people think. Maybe it can be of help to you to. You're daughter is beautiful.


People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."

I love the last sentence, being a parent is definitely going to be a learning experience, and its not between us and everyone out there, its between us, our children and God.