Thursday, July 1, 2010

Swim Lessons!!

Last week both Lilly and Reid had swim lessons. I am going to go over the basics of everything they learned just in case any of my friends with babies want to do it in their own pools by themselves. At this point, they don't really teach them to swim. They just get them used to the pool, teach the beginnings of dog paddling, how to get in and out (most important for this Mommy), and how to safely jump. Each day the lessons start with sitting by the side of the pool with our feet in the water. We splash water on our legs and arms. Then, we get in the pool (Mommy and/or Daddy first). The "proper way" to get into the pool: 1)Sit down with your feet in the pool. 2)Put your hands beside you. 3)Roll to your tummy and slide in the water hanging on to the side of the pool with your arms. (Like Lilly is in the above picture...the kids are supposed to stay on the side until the adult grabs them.)
My friend Lindsey was sweet enough to help me out with swim lessons...even though in her words, "it was ruining her street cred" and "it was great birth control". Haha. My nephew Jackson also helped out on the days that she had class. Aren't we so blessed to have that much help????! Oh, side note: on the first day several babies cried the entire time--but by the second day each baby was smiling and happy! So if you are doing swim lessons and your baby melts down know that you are not alone and they will actually enjoy them!!
After we get in, we form a circle and sprinkle water on our heads because "all swimmers have wet heads" (PS. I say that in the bath tub now and Lilly no longer cries while I wash her hair.) Then, we go "1, 2, 3, splash...and as you might have guessed...we splash as big as we can when we say splash. Reid was a bit of a rebel on this one and splashed the entire time. One day he splashed for the entire hour. I thought his arms might just fall off. Haha. When water gets in their face we just blow our breath out and shake our heads. Mrs. Virginia says the #1 one thing you need during swim lessons is a smile. She says to smile and act like you are having the most fun ever regardless of your child's reaction. Silly as it sounds it does work.
Next we get our swim buoys on so that we can kick across the pool. Swim buoys should be strapped on as low around the waste as possible.
Ready with the swim buoys..waiting to get in.
By the end of the week, they are able to jump to you. The most important thing here is that you count to three and then jump. This is so that your children know not to just jump in when you aren't ready or paying attention.
When kicking across the pool, you want to hold your arms out at straight and hold them on the chest right underneath their armpits. You also want to have your hands in the water so that they feel themselves in the water. You are just there as guidance and to keep them from going under....encourage them to kick, kick, kick those legs. Also, when kicking across the pool keep your chin just above the water and hummmm....hoping they will mock you so they don't drink a bunch of water.
If your baby is Reid's age then you will hold him under the elbows because his head control isn't as good...he kept dunking himself.
Getting out of the pool. When swimming to the side, encourage your child to grab the side of the wall. You want them to have their elbows on the side of the pool (like Lilly in this picture). Then, help them get one leg on the side and have them pull themselves out. You want to keep your hand behind their knee if they need assistance..NOT on their behind because you want them to be able to pull themselves out. Mrs. Virginia said if a child falls in the pool, it is usually by the side. So if kids know to grab the side and get out on their own, it is much safer. She said several past clients have told her that their child fell in the pool and before they could get to him/her that they had already managed to get out on their own.
The kickboard. Lilly LOVED the kickboard. Reid HATED the kickboard. You have your child hang onto it (but not be on top of it) and kick across the pool. Lilly's favorite part of swim lessons was bumping the kickboard into the side of the pool and saying "boom".
Reid just played with it...which at his age is fine. Lilly hated the kickboard last year too. I think their arms just aren't long enough yet and it is uncomfortable.
There is my little rebel splashing instead of participating the kickboard part of the lesson. That is my personal tip...if they are over-stimulated with the lesson...just let them play for a minute.
Here we are waiting for our turn to doggy paddle with Mrs. Virginia and James (her helper).
Reid sneaking in some kisses from Mommy while we wait...heart melting!
Doggy paddling. You just hold their hands and gently pull them across the pool letting them kick their legs.
She kind of pushes them from the bottom on the way back...she said it encourages them to kick their legs and move their arms.
More swimming....
My big swimmers!! I am a proud Mommy!
I forgot to mention earlier that sometimes when we kick across the pool, we blow bubbles in the water as we go. I don't know why..I am sure there is a reason...but I don't know it. Both of mine thought it was funny though.
This picture is out of order. After the lesson, we got in float rings and played with toys for a little while.
Before toys though, we floated. You put your cheek next to theirs, hold them by the bottom, and try to get them to relax and stay still as you count out loud to 10.
Reid LOVED this part...Lilly not so much.
Us at the end of our swim lesson!! One day they had a blow-up alligator to ride on and another day they had a slide for the kids to swim on. Both were big hits with Lilly and Reid liked the slide. Lilly loved the slide so much that any time it was someone elses turn, she yelled "mine". Lovely.
Okay, so I have to tell this story. The last day of swim lessons I was getting Reid ready. I sprayed him down with sunscreen and put his swim diaper on. He played with a toy for about a minute and then I got him so I could put his swim shorts on. In less than a minute, this HUGE UGLY bruise had popped up. I may have panicked a little bit. I called Matt and we discussed taking him to the doctor (hospital might have been mentioned) and settled on just calling the nurse. So, I did and she said to just watch it..he had probably fallen earlier...just keep an eye on it. So we go to swim lessons, then to playgroup (where I explain this mysterious bruise to all of my friends), and come home to meet Matt for lunch. I show the bruise to Matt and by this time it is looking a little bit better. He agrees it is an ugly bruise and goes to change his diaper. Then, he kind of giggles and says, "Honey, his bruise just wiped off with a wipee!" Niiiice! Haha. I am so glad I didn't rush him to the hospital! And while I feel like an idiot, I am so thankful that it was just some dirt he got from something!!!

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