I vividly remember the girls’ first swim lesson, last summer. I was so proud that they didn’t fuss or whine…they listened to the coach…and they seemed to have fun kicking in the pool. Sure, they wouldn’t get their faces wet, but it was only the first class, right???
While I still think the overall experience was a valuable one, sadly we didn’t get much further in the two swim sessions we had last summer. There was plenty of kicking, but I know the girls never fully got their faces wet, much less went underwater.
This year, I was so thrilled when the girls got their faces wet during the first couple of swim lessons. The girls were having fun, and I was hopeful that we’d get a little closer to submersion at some point.
To my wonderful surprise, it wasn’t long before the girls were getting their mouths…then their noses…and then their eyes in the water. That was soon followed by them jumping off the side of the pool!!! Of course Miss Jeanie met them immediately, but I could never have imagined that after our experience a year ago.
After five straight swimming lessons a couple of weeks ago, we had to take a break to recover from two cases of swimmer’s ear. (While I was so very sad to see our girls with sore ears, it was scientific affirmation that they had, in fact, been UNDERWATER. It wasn’t just a figment of my imagination!)
I was afraid that the girls might associate the pain in their ears with swimming and shy away from more time in the pool. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. They understood why we were taking some time off, but every day they asked (multiple times), “Mommy, when can we go swimming again?”
Yesterday was our first day in the pool in just over a week. The girls were very excited, but I didn’t know what to expect. Would they remember what they’d learned so far? Would they be timid – at least at first – with getting their faces wet? Would they fear getting water in their ears?
Baby A asked to go first. I was a little surprised by that, as to date, B has always been “elected” to take the first turn.
I sat there in total AMAZEMENT. Baby A hopped right in the pool like she hadn’t missed a beat. She got her mouth wet, and then her nose, and then she started going under to retrieve dive rings from the steps of the pool…deeper and deeper and deeper.
She was ecstatic to get to work with the kickboard. She actually leaped out of the pool to get it, giggling wildly, surprising even her teacher. When Miss Jeanie told her to put her face in the water and kick, SHE DID!!! And she did it over and over and over!!!
It felt so incredible…to be witnessing what I can only describe as a breakthrough. It was like my A suddenly “got it”.
She spent the majority of the lesson “swimming” from Miss Jeanie to the side of the pool, and then pushing off to swim back to Miss Jeanie. Each time, her face was in the water, arms were in “swim position”, and her legs were outstretched, kicking. And each time, she came up with the HUGEST smile on her face.
Not only was it amazing to witness this breakthrough, but it was such a blessing to see her be so proud of herself. I know my smile was just as big as I watched my baby girl.
When it was her turn, Baby B did really well, too. She got right back in with her face in the water and followed directions very well. It wasn’t the same “breakthrough” feeling as I had with A, but I’m so thankful she fell right back in line with how far she’d come the week prior.
I can’t quite put my finger on it…that the girls are a year older? That this teacher takes a different approach? That the blowing of bubbles in the bathtub over the past 10 months was really worth it?
No matter…I couldn’t be more happy that the girls are having such a successful swim experience this year. I certainly am not ready to call the Olympic Development Program, but I am hopeful it will set them up for a lifetime of fun in the water.