Today we took our 7 month old baby to her 21st swimming lesson. One of the new techniques introduced today was the glide swim. Having seen that it looks like we are really going to be stepping up a level.
As these articles have progressed I'm having to describe only the new techniques introduced in the lessons. We do many existing techniques and routines during each lesson, but these can be found in previous articles.
I did want to mention one existing routine, the underwater hoop swim. We have done this a few times but being left handed the hoop was always on the wrong side for me. This week the instructor switched sides for me so I got to go underwater and see Amélie swimming through the hoop which was great.
I did find it difficult coordinating everything, side holding swim position, count her in, hold my breath, launch Amélie under and through the hoop, go under myself, watch her swim through, collect her at the other side, before the two of us come up for air. One of the mothers mentioned to me how she had a tough time coordinating everything and I have to agree it's not easy. I think it will take a couple more attempts before I'm as smooth with this as I am with the other moves.
The first new technique was a joining of 2 existing routines. This was the emergency procedure meant to prepare your baby in the (hopefully very unlikely) event they fall into the pool. We had already made a couple of additions to this in previous lessons. Slipping them forward off the side instead of lifting them in, and allowing them to go under the water once they are turned around facing the side of the pool.
The extension in this lesson was the way they got into the water. This was by being launched in by the instructor. We covered this in the previous article, for previous article click here the instructor sits on the side of the pool with baby on their knee, and throws them into the pool for you to catch.
We were second, I was asked to move a little closer to the side. I would estimate about 5 feet or a meter and a half away. I handed Amélie to the instructor then said 'Amélie ... Ready ... Splash ...', in she came with a huge splash, I turned her around, let her go underwater for a short time, then repeated 'hold on, hold on, hold on' as I held her close to the side. She held onto the side and I let go of her so she was hanging on by herself. I knew she could hold on if she wanted to, but most times she is too distracted looking at the other babies.
Next was the glide swim. Today the instructor did the glide swim for us, and we picked our babies up at the end of it. We were to hand our babies to the instructor who waited with them at the side of the pool while we made our way to the middle of the pool. So the instructor is holding your baby at the side of the pool both of them facing you standing in the middle of the pool. You count your baby in 'Amélie ... Ready ... Go ...', then you submerge yourself underwater, and the instructor does the same holding your baby in front of them. They then push off the side with their feet and glide underwater towards you holding your baby out in front of them. When your baby reaches you the instructor lets go and your baby swims the last few inches into your hands.
Imagine how you would set off from the side of the pool if you were going to swim breast stroke. Only you have a baby in your hands held out in front of you. I'm looking forward to having a go myself, swimming underwater holding my daughter.
Next up was chase the fish but instead we used a ball, there was no difference to the routine though. Then we did surfing on the teddy float. Remember, any float will do you don't have to find one in the shape of a teddy. After this we did chase the teddy for a while where we chased the teddy float instead of the fish or ball.
Next up was a new surfing move. Your baby is lying on their tummy on the float, just like the regular surfing routine. You have them to the right side of your body, and your left arm comes right across the front of your body, left elbow probably somewhere near your belly button. Your left hand is under the float supporting it, for me it's quite a stretch! Your right arm is over your baby and your right hand is near your baby's right hand.
As you move forward the idea is that your baby uses their right hand to paddle forward. You take their right hand with your right hand and help them to do the paddling motion. While you do this you repeat 'pull, pull, pull' to encourage them.
We did this for a while and then switched sides to do the other hand. Being a lefty this was easier for me you just reverse everything. The instructor said it looks like they are really surfing, which helped me imagine what this technique should look like. I imagined her lying on a surfboard and paddling out to sea, and made Amélie mimic what this looked like.
For the next part the instructor had a square foam float. Each side was about 1 meter or 3 feet long. It wasn't very thick, about as thick as a large sandwich. We were to sit our baby on the edge of the float and do the 'name ... ready ... splash ...' move that we usually do from the side of the pool. We were then to turn our babies around and tell them to hold onto the side of the float.
We could let our babies sit more freely on the float than on the side of the pool. If they fell back they wouldn't hit their head on anything hard as it was just a foam float. I'd always worried about Amélie hitting the back of her head on the side of the pool as she slides off (she never has though). With this float I was much more confident. This went pretty well, I've seen similar floats to the ones we used at our local swimming pool so I'm sure I can improvise with them to get the same effect.
There was much more to the lesson, I've just covered the new material. There is now a 2 week break for half term. This will give me time to add to the diagrams section, I guess I'll be drawing 3D teddy floats this weekend.