Seeing It Clearly

Farm Girl needed new swimming goggles, of that we were all very aware.  The old ones had become a tad lax at sealing so that, by the end of her weekly lesson, they looked a little bit like twin front loader washing machines in that lull between cycles. Adding to that, the left-side headband attachment started spontaneously exploding on a regular basis; it finally got to a point where more time was spent on tinkering with eye-wear than on actual swimming.  Yes indeed, we agreed, something really needed to be done. 

“Buy the girl some new goggles!” we hear you shrieking; and with good reason, too.  It’s obvious to us now that all our ridiculous feet-dragging over this tiniest of tasks was, as these things often are, wrapped up in a whole lot of other stuff. The sort of stuff that actually has nothing, but also everything, to do with a humble set of swimming goggles.  

Over the last year we Homesteaders have had some big things to wrap our heads around regarding Farm Girl’s  lack of sight. Different things hit different people; coming to terms with her never being able to drive, for example (incidentally a fact that Farm Girl herself accepted as a given; perhaps she had always known) hit some, while witnessing her negotiate the sometimes brutal social cut and thrust of the seven year old world with the added issue of not being able to clearly gauge the body language, facial expressions or just where her friends had run away to had others seething and scheming.  

“But she’s so able, just like a normal little girl,” is the most often voiced comment on learning of her dodgy vision, and therein lies the reason for stalling on the goggles replacement. In hindsight it seems so ludicrous, but what it boiled down to is we were facing acknowledging something not all of us were ready to. 

It was Farm Girl  making the massive leap from littlies pool to the big one that sorted it in the end. This prestigious change of swimming venue meant Suzanna, her wonderful, tolerant, funny, knowledgeable and utterly patient instructor, was further away from the action.  To keep noise to a minimum, Suzanna does a pretty extensive line in funky hand gestures.

“I’m terrible at swimming now I’m in the big pool,” Farm Girl announced at a recent round table conversation; a claim we all scrambled to scoff at, providing a collection of witnessed swimming triumphs  and screeds of anecdotal evidence.

“But Suzanna never gives me the thumbs up anymore.” 

Oh. In fact, the frequency of thumbs ups sent in Farm Girl’s direction had not changed, but the distance they were relayed over had. That’s the moment we all got it. 

The prescription goggles arrived in time for this weeks swimming lesson, pink to match her togs as directed.  A try out and cat walk session pronounced them, “Yep, good.” Then Homestead life reasserted itself; dinner preparation was started, goats were milked, off-Homestead workers arrived and gave potted reviews of their days high and low lights.

“Where’s FG?” someone suddenly asked.

2014-11-14 17.49.02
She was discovered, oblivious to our calls, perched on the end of The Farmer’s bed

“Can I wear them to school tomorrow?” This request was gently by firmly discouraged. She did manage to get through another chapter and a half of Five Go Off in a Caravan before lights out at bedtime, though.  

As for yesterday at swimming…

  • Five items of a possible six retrieved from the bottom of the pool

  • four full lengths swum to the very end as the wall was easily distinguished

  • the chaperone was told off for inattention during backstroke and, most joyful of all,

  • another entry for the Santa list was discovered.  

Who knew they made Frozen themed swimming togs?


10 thoughts on “Seeing It Clearly

  1. Congrats to Farm Girl on the swimming progress, and the Frozen swimming togs. And the cool goggles. She can definitely swim better than me. Maybe I should get goggles.

    I think I have a good idea of why you put off the goggles. I put off speech therapy for our eldest for ages, for absolutely no good reason, despite the fact that I was the only person in her universe that knew that when she said “soot yezzy” she was asking for fruit leather. She was 4 years old, less than a year till kindergarten and all the cruelty of the school playground. Fortunately, there was a trigger event (her at the time best friend Heather took exception to being called “Hezzy”) which caused a lot of tears, which wrenched my heart and made me realize that I couldn’t live in denial any longer. Speech therapy had her speaking normally by kindergarten, and I wondered why I’d ever put off getting her tested. So yes, while a profound lisp is nothing like limited vision, I think I do get the parent side of this.

    The Famous Five. Oh, how I loved those books. I inherited a cousin’s set, not quite complete, but the ones published in the 1950’s – I still have them somewhere. There was one with a man who climbed the ivy on the outside of the house and peered in the bedrroom window, which gave me the heebie jeebies for weeks – my bedroom window at the time was about 3 metres up and surrounded by ivy. My own girls didn’t take to the series. Philistines.

    • Yep, I did exactly the same with The Farmer and his speech, insisting to everyone and anyone that they were just not listening properly…within the first week with a wonderful SPELD teacher (nearest speech therapist was an hours drive away and this lady lived in the next street) he was pronouncing the th sound and I felt like I had been holding him back.You would have though I’d have learnt! Although this was a combined family thing and there was a feeling of, if we admit to needing prescription goggles what are we saying. Is so ridiculous when written down.
      All the kids loved the Famous Five as much as I did but only Farm Girl also got the whole Laura Ingalls Wilder thing.

  2. Smart, hard working cookie the Fram Girl is!! And looking so cool in her splnedid goggles. I told you before, the Youngest Mr. Walker has visual problems too. I never knew it is so much harder for visual impaired children to learn to swim. It took some trail and error before we found a wonderful instructor who understood what patience was…
    And really, after seeing the Youngest Mr. Walker growing up to a fine, pleasant college student now at the age of 20 and working with so many children in hard situations as a child therapist…I was, still am always in awe about the strength, stamina, wit and down to earth humor children show when finding their way in life and overcoming struggles! Hugs and firm pats on the shoulders for the clever Farm Girl and the warm family she grow up in!

    • Thank you for you lovely comments, as always, and also sharing where the Youngest Mr Walker is now…Farm Girl was intrigued and excited to hear of someone whose eyes were like hers and was now all grown up and working away from home 🙂

  3. With 2 boys suspected to be on the Autism spectrum, I’ve put off and put off their paediatrician appointments. I FINALLY made them and now have to wait until Feb. Denial can be a safe place.
    As for Frozen togs? Nanna is gifting some to a certain small female child of mine this Xmas. I imagine she will go just a wee bit crazy-like when she unwraps them. 🙂

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