It's been a long summer break since the last formal lesson, but we have been taking our baby swimming every week on our own in-between. Today we got stuck into the proper lessons again, and there was a bit of a change in focus.
Our baby was 1 year old this month and is walking pretty well now. It was only 11 months ago that we bought our 6 week old baby to her first swimming lesson and the progress has been miraculous.
During the summer break Amélie has been swimming with us most Fridays. We throw her in from the side of the pool, we swim underwater with her, we have all sorts of fun and she laughs and laughs. She is completely fearless in the water. I didn't write articles covering those sessions as you could sum them all up in a few words. Went swimming, did some of the water babies techniques, had fun.
There were only 3 of us at the lesson today, we started with the usual warm up routines. One of these is where you sit your baby on your knee, say 'name ... ready ... go ...' then splash water over their head and in their face (we do 2 sets of 3). previWell Amélie has never liked this at all, in fact it is the only routine at all that she doesn't enjoy. Today the instructor said 'plenty of big smiles please' so I put on my best goofy smile and Amélie went from pensive to laughing during the routine.
We did a lot of the existing routines which are all covered in previous articles. The first new routine was a water level swim. This is a change in focus to give the babies independence and move along the path to them swimming alone. The parent waited at the side of the pool (in the pool) while the instructor took the baby for a little swim in a semi circle until the instructor was facing the parent. The first picture shows this.
Then the instructor reaches forward with your baby towards you and back 3 times, counting 'one ... two ... three ...' and on the 4th time they let go sending your baby towards you on the surface of the water. We were told that our babies would sink, but they all stayed pretty close to the surface and tried to swim towards the parent. You can see in the picture Amélie is half underwater.
To explain the 1,2,3 part a but more. It's like 3 trial runs before finally letting go, getting the baby used to the motion and prepared to go.
Although we did a lot of side holding swim position we were shown a new way to do the swimming. This takes very little explaining, you just support them with one hand under the chest. They get some water in their mouths from time to time but soon learn to avoid that.
The picture shows me doing this routine this morning with Amélie. We are chasing a rubber squirty fish, I actually found this position pretty awkward. In the picture her head is up high, but it was often at water level and she swallowed some water from time to time.
Among other of the older routines we did a glide swim. It was odd to do such a short one as we have extended the length of our glide swims to about 3 meters when we go to the pool on our own. The instructor noted how Amélie was swimming up to the surface alone when I let go, rather then needing to be lifted up by the instructor.
We also did some surfing on the teddy bear float. Looking at this morning's picture I think I was a little over exuberant during the 'over the bridge' section of the teddy bear surfing. We ended the surfing with a new little twist. We stood in a circle facing the centre and hid our babies behind the teddy bear floats. We then walked toward the middle and when we reached each other in the middle we moved away the bears and shouted 'peek-a-boo'. If any of my mates from the pub read this I'll be in for a ribbing, not a very butch pastime I agree but the kids love it.
While I'm humiliating myself I may as well finish the job by posting this picture of Amélie and I doing 'horsey horsey'. Another of the regular routines, and a firm favourite. We also use the yellow woggle shown in the picture to do the routine where your baby swims without you relying only on the woggle. This is probably the best routine to see your baby swimming independently relying only on the woggle. That routine is covered in this article baby swimming lesson 31
The holiday swim is another of the routines we ave covered in previous articles. I mention it because we are always the worst parent and baby pair in the class at the holiday swim. Today Amélie held on for the first time ever and we managed almost a full width of the pool each way. It looks like I'm walking in the photo but I'm actually doing breaststroke.
Near the end we did some routines with the bigger float. Amélie managed to stay on much better, we did wobble wobble, and row row row your boat 2 times each.
We finished the float work with climbing onto the float, standing up, and running off the float into the water. This was covered in this article baby swimming lesson 32
At the end of the lesson the instructor gave each baby a high 5, and the first lesson of the new term was over. I'm writing this up as soon as I've gotten home (while it's all fresh in my mind), and Amélie is trying to get my attention and sit on my knee. She's been in a great mood since we came back and has just wolfed down her lunch. I'll be sure to add another article after next weeks lesson.