Today we took our 8 month old baby to her 22nd swimming lesson. We have had a 2 week Easter break so were unsure if she would still be comfortable spending time underwater.
Our baby has had a leap in development over the past 2 weeks. She spends most of the time standing up, and will pull herself up using just about anything, a table, a trouser leg, even our long suffering dogs are used. On the subject of Dogs, she has learned her first word, 'Dog' which she repeats endlessly. She drinks and eats on her own, and we take her to the park every day now.
She was loving the swimming lessons 2 weeks ago, but would she still be happy enough to go underwater umpteen times after such a long break from it? Our doubts turned out to be unfounded, as she sailed through at least 10 underwater routines with no complaints.
There was a couple of new routines we did at the start of the lesson. The first was an extension of splashing in from the side of the pool. If you remember, now our babies are older and can support themselves more while sitting on the side, we changed the way they splash in. We used to lift them in holding them under their armpits. Now we clasp our hands around their lower back and slide them towards us until they slip into the pool. Most of the babies help with this action, sliding themselves forward on their bums.
The extension to this was to immediately go into side holding swim position once they splashed in, and swim them in a little loop away from the side and back again. As you return to the side you hold them out and repeat 'hold on, hold on, hold on' and have your baby hold onto the side. The first time we did this Amélie hung on unaided for about 15 seconds, subsequent times she wouldn't play ball and was too distracted to hold on.
The second new routine was as follows. The parent is at the side of the pool (goggles on), with baby in side holding swim position, facing the instructor who is standing opposite in the middle of the pool facing them. The instructor is holding a hula hoop under the water, you swim your baby towards and past her, then turn around and come back towards her. Then it's 'name ... ready ... go ...' as you and baby go under the water together, once underwater you release your baby to swim through the hoop as you move around the side of the hoop to pick her up at the other end. You are underwater with your baby watching the whole time.
Once you pick your baby up again at the other side, it's into side holding swim position again as you return to the side of the pool holding your baby out at the end for a 'hold on'. I remembered to ask the instructor to hold the hoop at the other side on my turn because I'm a left handed freak. It was our turn first and it went without a hitch.
Next was the glide swim, I've been through this in a previous article and hoped I'd get to do it this time. I'll have to wait though as the instructor did it again. There were only 6 of us in the lesson so we got through a lot of routines. Some of the older routines and lots of the newer routines we have learned over the past 5 or 6 lessons. During some of the routines, bouncing for example I noticed the mothers were standing now instead of crouching in the water. I tried standing and found it so much easier, with heavier babies many of the routines are now easier to do standing up instead of crouching.
We did the usual games surfing with the foam floats, and sliding in and holding on from a floating platform (little foam rectangle). We also did the paddling technique on the float like mini surfers. I wrote about that in the previous lesson, I found it pretty challenging as Amélie was fighting me and trying to straighten her arm. Then we had a surfing race a width of the pool and back again.
There is so much more packed into the sessions now compared to when we first started. I'm remembering so much content from the lesson like being thrown in from the instructors knee, chasing the teddy, back to chest backstroke, ring-a-ring-o-roses, all of which I've outlined in previous articles.
I'll be back next week to tell you what's new in baby swimming lesson 23. I hope you are finding the diagrams useful. I'm open to suggestions as to what the best format for those is, click here to take a look at the ones I've done so far and let me know what you think.