I've just got back from our 26th baby swimming lesson, and Clare has been teasing me in the car journey back about my serious face when I performed a new routine we learned today.
As soon as we put Amélie into her swim nappy this morning she knew it meant she was going swimming. When I got her into the pool she was smiling and wiggling about with excitement. After the usual 5 minute routines that we have been doing from the start of this baby swimming course it was time for the good stuff.
First up a glide swim through a hoop. There was an unhappy baby crying next to us, and during the lesson there was always 1 or 2 babies crying which is very unusual. These babies have been with us since the very first lesson, and I'd seen them happily going through all of these routines before. I really felt for the mothers, who battled through the full lesson regardless which I think is the best way to deal with it.
Amélie hadn't cried during a lesson for months now, and I was half concerned this may set her off. The glide swim went great and she came up looking thrilled. We did 2 glide swims in total, followed by some routines sitting on the side and splashing in. These included the emergency procedure we covered a few articles back. No crying the whole lesson, just smiles which was reassuring.
Next came the new routine that Clare has been teasing me about. You do this in pairs, 2 adults and 2 babies. The adults face each other in the pool and hold their babies in side holding swim position. Being left handed I usually have Amélie to my left, but for this both parents had to hold their babies on their right.
So you are standing there opposite another parent, your baby is held on your right and even though their baby is held on their right, it's your left so the babies are on different sides. You count them in with the usual 'name ... ready ... go ...' and then move them forward and under the water for an underwater swim.
Once you have released your baby on your right, you have to retrieve the other parent's baby on your left. As soon as I heard I would be responsible for catching someone else's baby I was as serious as a heart attack and concentrated on the instructions. My face must have looked a picture.
To make things worse it was my turn first! I made my way into the middle of the pool like a cowboy to a duel as I took my place opposite a more confident looking mother. Apologies to my daughter, but I was more concerned with catching this ladies son than anything else.
We counted our babies in, and in perfect synchronisation we set our babies off swimming underwater on our right, and retrieved each others babies on our left. Being a normal loving human being, the lady holding Amélie picked her up and gave her a nice loving hug. Being a self conscious idiot man, I immediately tried to pass her son back to her. Holding him out like a dirty bin bag.
Not my finest hour, but next time I'll do better. It's actually a pretty clever routine, your baby gets used to other people, they get to see another baby is doing the same thing, and you have to let go of your baby to pick up the other baby which prevents you from chickening out.
Another technique was introduced today to help your baby get used to finding the side of the pool. We were at the side of the pool, the instructor took our babies one by one and performed the new move. She stood facing the side, about a meter away and we counted our babies in with 'name ... ready ... go...'. She then took our babies underwater and forward towards the side of the pool, bringing them up to the surface just before they actually reached the side. The babies were then encouraged to reach out and hold onto the side as we were repeating 'hold on ... hold on ... hold on ...'.
We did all of last weeks new routines, horsey horsey, monkey monkey, back floating with a woggle, and sitting on the float for 'wibble wobble jelly on the top'. Amélie isn't too great at Monkey Monkey, she fights against me as I move her hands for her. She also puts her toes hard against the side, so as I am moving her top half to one side her feet tend to stay put. It's only the second time we have done it though.
We did another routine from last weeks lesson where we stand in a big circle and swim to the middle in side holding swim position. When we get to the middle we lift our babies up and shout 'hurray'. Amélie loved this last week, and this week I'd say it was her favourite again. We do it 3 times, so when we are swimming back away from the middle she knows she might be going to do it again and has a huge grin on her face.
It's yet another bank holiday next week so there is no lesson. I'll be posting an article the week after though, and if I have time I will add to the growing collection of diagrams click here for the diagrams. If you want to influence the content of the diagrams then do get in touch by following the contact us link.