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June 6, 2013

Swimming...Then and Now

Last May / June the girls took swimming lessons for the first time.  It wasn't a bad experience...they never fussed or cried...but they didn't truly love it, either.  I'm still thankful they took lessons...they got exposure to the water and some reference point for "swimming"...but I knew I wanted to take a different approach this year.

We started this year's swimming lessons on Tuesday of this week, and it has -- thankfully! -- been a completely different experience so far!

Miss Jeanie is our swim instructor.  We're at a small pool in her backyard.  The pool is probably only 4' deep or so throughout, so the instructors can walk around the pool the entire time.  As opposed to the ginormous Olympic-size indoor pool surrounded by huge bleachers and bellowing echoes, this setting seems to put the girls much more at ease.

Last year we struggled...through BOTH sessions of get our faces wet.

This year, the girls have been much more receptive to Miss Jeanie's directions.  I think it's a huge help that going underwater hasn't been the sole focus of the lesson...she's mixed up blowing bubbles and teaching the girls to blink water out of their eyes with kicking and floating.

After two lessons, I'm very proud to report that both girls have put their entire faces in the water, including their eyes, which feels like a major accomplishment.  They are so proud of themselves, too!

Miss Jeanie uses a ton of positive reinforcement, and I LOVE that she plays in the water with the girls for a few minutes after each lesson.  They laugh hysterically and seem to think that's a riot!

Last year, we took lessons as part of a class.  There were usually one or two other children in the pool while we were, and each child got a five-minute turn, for a total of about 15 minutes per child.

This year, we're doing "semi-private" lessons, designed for two children...which is just perfect for our duo.  B has elected to go first for her 20-minute session, and then A has her turn.  That works so well in keeping the girls focused...and also allowing them to watch each other and cheer each other on. 

I'm not interested at this point in the girls learning each of the four competitive swim strokes.  At the age of four, I want them to enjoy being in the water, and to learn the basics of "swimming"...or at least how to work their way to the side of the pool if they needed to.

I think this approach is exactly what we need!  The girls are having a blast...they're excited to go...and they're excited to come home and tell their daddy the new things they learned that day.

And -- of course -- here are a few pictures!

B, practicing floating.

B, with her beloved kick board.

Baby A giggling with Miss Jeanie.

A big smile from Baby A.

And I had to include this one of Baby B...drying out under Mommy's sun hat while A had her lesson.  Swimming is VERY hard work!!!

Woe is B!
We've promised the girls a trip to the water park after they complete their lessons.  I can't wait for some family pool time!!!


Johanna at The Baker Twins said...

Hooray, big girls! Sounds like a great summer lies ahead. I wish you guys could come to Hawaiian Falls with us this summer. Darn the miles between us!

Anonymous said...

wow!! what big girls! :)

my kids LOVE the idea of swim lessons. then they get there and no one will blow bubbles. no one likes to float on their back. but they LOVE to jump in :)

Marcia (123 blog) said...

LOL at strongblonde!

We're still not doing official swim lessons although the school does daily swim lessons in summer (most of the year here). We saw a big difference in Ballito this year (jan) - they were fearless, didn't mind faces in the water, could float, etc. I AM AMAZED!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

PS pressed publish too quick.

I LOVE THAT PIC OF B!!! And A's smile is THE BEST!