Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Swim Lessons (Progress)

Hey, good people.  Today I want to post about M and swim lessons (the ups and downs).

DK and I learned to swim as children, and have always said our kids would learn, too (even earlier than we did). Drowning is a leading cause of death in children, and one way to prevent that obviously is enrolling them in swim lessons/water safety classes. The age of three is a good age to begin formal lessons (when children have the muscle coordination to learn to actually swim, and can be in the water without a parent).  M was three last summer, but the classes that worked with our schedule filled up quickly (and we didn't get in).  This year I jumped right on it and got her in. Not only that, but we got a great instructor.

The first couple of weeks, she was fine. M is no stranger to water as we go on beach trips with my in-laws at least twice a year (and that includes lots of pool time).  But after a few weeks of lessons (and an unintended break after the stitches incident), something happened that made her afraid.  Maybe it was the growing independence -- not sure. Whatever it was, though, she'd refuse to get in the water at all.

Her daddy trying to talk her into getting in.

When we would finally get her in there, she would not let go of the instructor.  She'd hold his neck so tightly, and would freak out when he tried to encourage her to swim.  It was kinda sad.  She'd cry and cry, but DK and I would not get her out. Mind you, there were other people in the pool.  Other lanes were used by swim/dive teams and open/free swim.  So I'm sure some people there thought we were crazy for watching our baby cry. I noticed one old lady looking at us in horror. As M's parents, we knew what she was capable of.  Allowing her to bail was not going to fix the problem.

After a few lessons like that, we decided to do our own little the instructor out by doing some extra practice at home.  So we went to our neighborhood pool and worked with her together.  We did short and sweet drills first, making games out of what we were doing.  Then she'd "swim" between her daddy and me over and over.  At the same time, we were moving farther away from each other as we saw her confidence increase.  And it did -- BIG TIME.  So much that I was able to get out of the water, and she was comfortable working with just her daddy (swimming between him and the wall).

The next day (after her great instructor offered to give her us a complimentary one-on-one lesson -- nice, right?), she was more confident and ready to go.  Exhibit A.

Her confidence continued to grow, and we were able to focus on coming up for air (and swimming longer distances).  Exhibit B.

Yay, M!  My girl's already looking forward to her next lesson, which is a far cry from where we were a couple of weeks ago.  I hope we've seen the last of her water fears.

I'm proud of her, and look forward to watching her get better. We hope to enroll her in the next level so she can learn more skills.  We're serious about water safety, and she still has a lot to learn...

Hope everyone's having a good week!  Tomorrow or Friday I plan to post about M's first visit to a cave. Stop back by to see if there was drama or if it went smoothly (or both).


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