Friday, June 25, 2010
Neither Steve nor I are strong swimmers. Steve had a lot of ear problems as a kid, so he missed most of his swimming lessons, but I have no excuse - I'm just bad. I love to swim, but I'm terrible at it. Confession: I can't even go underwater without blocking my nose.
This then, has become something we want for Abbey: to give her the opportunity to be a strong swimmer, to be comfortable in the water.
We started her in swimming lessons when she was five months old. So many people told us we were crazy; after all, it's only about water familiarisation at that age, right? Well, sort of. But even that was a benefit, and something we wouldn't and couldn't have done with her by ourselves.
And there's nothing they can teach babies, right? Wrong. By six months, she was being plunged happily underwater. Then she learnt to kick (her 'running legs' as they say) and that set her off. By fifteen months she could swim with no assistance from us, with just her floaties on. Amazing.
Because of our discomfort in the water, one of the greatest joys Steve and I felt on holidays recently was in watching Abbey in the pool. Swimming every day, for hours on end, she improved even more. We'd put her floaties on, and she'd be off.
She headed all around the pool, exploring, with no care about whether we were around. We were with friends who have two boys, aged eight and five, and Abbey loved being splashed and bombed next to by them. By the end of the holiday, she was climbing into the pool by herself (I was thrilled that she chose to copy the boys when they climbed in carefully, and not when they bombed!) and swimming with the boys, without Steve or I in the pool (of course, we were very close by at the edge, at the ready).
She learnt to climb out by herself. Not just a clever thing to do, this is also a key lesson from her swimming classes - when you're in trouble, get to the edge and climb out.
And, if we weren't proud enough of her, at her swimming lesson this week she showed the teacher that she can swim without her arm floaties (to give you an idea of what this means, all the kids going up to the two-year-old class are still wearing them).
And she's only twenty-one months old.
We just hope this love of the water lasts. For her safety and fun.
Posted at 7:46 AM