Today I took my daughter on her second swimming lesson, we nearly didn't make it but I'm glad we did! This time I got to take her underwater myself.
Everything went wrong this morning, I got up late, I felt ill, we were running late, and Amélie was unusually distressed for this time of the morning. She had just stopped crying and was all strapped into the car seat but the car wouldn't start. With 10 minutes to get there it was too late to call a Taxi, I considered putting her on my knee and taking the 2 seater car but that's now illegal.
My mates family is staying with us at the moment so we called his wife to see if we could borrow her car. She kindly agreed, so Clare jumped into the 2 seater to go pick up the keys, whizzed back and we were on our way.
We got there a couple of minutes late, I hate being late and didn't feel very well. When I got there everyone was changed and ready to start the lesson, the guy from last week was sitting this one out so I was the only man, and I was late. I'd woken up this morning with a really bad headache and this was the last thing I felt like doing.
As soon as we got into the pool Amélie was her usual calm self, in seconds I'd forgotten about my headache, forgotten the stress of the morning, and was enjoying it just as much as the first swimming lesson last week.
We did pretty much the same things as on the previous lesson, bouncing, splish splash, and swim position. In the swimming position you are moving backwards baby is on their tummy moving forwards supported by your wrists under the chest. Other babies seemed better at keeping their heads up, I found it helped and I got better eye contact when I got myself lower into the pool. The best position was when my chin was about at water level, so Amélie and I were looking right at each other.
My favourite part was next, the underwater swim. This time I got to do it myself, so I held her in the swimming position, my arms stretched out in front of me and said 'Amélie ..... Ready .... Go ' a little pause then I pulled her towards me allowing her head to go all the way under the water then up and out again into a cuddle. Her reaction was the same as last week, no fear, no crying, just an expression like she had just woken up. I mentioned this in the previous article you say 'Amélie .. Ready .. Go' to get the baby used to their name, and to associate the word Ready with preparing to hold their breath.
When I lifted Amélie up onto the side to do the 'Humpty Dumpty' move I noticed the water that dripped off her was a slightly coloured so handed her over to Clare to check the nappy. She did need changing, which was a little embarrassing but Clare had the nappy and swimmers off, and had her ready to go again in a flash. Just in time for the instructor to give her the second underwater swim of the session.
The final move was a new one, baby swimming on their backs supported under their head and neck by the parents strongest hand. The other hand supporting their rump. This move was done with the parent standing upright (all other moves the parent was crouched or on their knees). This time the parent walked forwards, for smaller babies like Amélie babies feet were at the parents tummy. For larger babies the feet had to go to the side.
The instructor told us not to hold our babies, just to support them and allow them to float. If possible the babies ears should be submerged. Well I'd naturally done this with Amélie from her first bath, just held her head and neck in one hand and allowed her to float. I supported her under her rump as instructed but I don't normally do that.
There was just time for a few more Humpty Dumpties, then the dreaded 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' again I kept mute and allowed the other mothers to sing the song. It''s incredible how low and crackly your voice can go when you are the only man there, I get the same problem singing in church. I did try very quietly for a few seconds. It sounded more like Lee Marvins gravely voice singing 'I was born under a wandering star' than a happy parent singing 'twinkle twinkle little star' to their young baby. Anyway, she gets sung to more than enough in the privacy of our own home.
That was pretty much the swimming lesson 2 over with. If you are thinking of trying any of this out then check out my first article, I think it has a lot more details. I enjoyed the experience just as much as last time, and am looking forward to next week. I'll let you know what happens in the next lesson, and I'll post some video to go with the articles.