My kids are not like others and I am in tune with the differences and sometimes that means catering to odd whims. There are times when they are just like any children and I willingly go with the flow. For example, of my sons loves swimming because of some kind of special sensory input he feels while in the water. I am grateful that he enjoys a special experience. Not every young one likes being wet and vulnerable. I don’t have my own pool however other than a small makeshift above ground type. So, I take him to the local public gym which has a nice, large indoor pool. He doesn’t always enjoy the company of other children if they tease or splash him, as rambunctious kids often do. I want him to learn to get along, so we persist in frequenting this location. There is no pool at his school and so far none in my neighborhood.
It makes it easy on me to take him after school on weekends, but I have a minor problem. He hates wearing those plastic pool shoes so he either intentionally forgets them or leaves them out of sight. He doesn’t like the slimy feel of wet jelly plastic. Most kids love them as you can wear them in the pool and have fun with assorted neon bright colors. There is a consequence to ignoring them and that is known as athlete’s foot. Many of you have seen or experienced it. It can itch, make the skin flake off, or even burn. Fortunately, there is a treatment, but first you must identify it and that isn’t hard. Frankly, it smells. It can be gooey and rather unpleasant if you let it get out of hand. I call it wet, wild, and funky. It is yellowish black in late stages and I am surprised that my son completely ignored it. What did he think it was? Dirt? Hardly. Finally, he came to me and said he had the flesh-eating bacteria. How did he know about that? TV no doubt and it is pretty scary. Any child would remember it out of fear. I calmed him down, however, and explained how common is athlete’s foot.
“Oh, ma,” he exclaimed. “Of course, I will wear jelly shoes and never take them off.” All of a sudden, I had immediate compliance. “Will that keep it away?” he asked. I was thrilled that he understood the value of a precaution like pool shoes and that he was willing to put up with an unpleasant feel to keep athlete’s foot at bay. He took a survey of his friends and sure enough none had the nasty malady. Why? They all sported pool shoes from the moment they left the car to the time they got into the pool. If they preferred to swim without them, they stood ready by the side of the water for the trip back to the locker room and car.