Today the swimming lesson was very much a lesson of two halves. A great start contrasting with a poor finish. At least she got her own back on me with the new routine 'daddy ... ready .. go ...'.
We arrived early today, we were in our hire car as our own car is being repaired after last weeks crash. I got into the pool with Amélie a few minutes before the lesson began. As soon as she got in she was smiling.
I tried to keep her occupied so started splashing the water with my hands and she copied. She was having so much fun in there. As the other babies turned up one by one she looked at them smiling. When the instructor came over to begin the lesson the smile was huge, she really does like her a lot.
We started as usual with bouncing in a circle followed by a set of 3 'name ... ready ... go ..' then pouring a cupped hand of water over their heads. This usually sets Amélie off in a bad mood and makes for a bad lesson of crying. I stopped doing this a few lessons ago and today was no exception. We were told to do 2 sets of 3, I would have had a go if it were the end of the lesson but to risk upsetting her right at the start I think is a bad idea.
So we sat that one out and just splashed around in the water hoping no one would notice. Clare does this water over the face routine every bath time with Amélie anyway so it's not like she is missing out.
The whole first half was so much different, usually Amélie looks pretty bored for most of the lesson, punctuated by a few smiles. Today she was smiling and laughing non stop for the first 15 minutes. The new routine we learned today was 'daddy ... ready .. go ...', or 'mummy ... ready .. go ...', if you are the mother.
We do bouncing in a circle singing 'a ring a ring O'roses' very much like the new routine in the previous lesson check this article the difference being, instead of the both of you going underwater you only go underwater yourself. You hold your baby under their arms, count them in with 'daddy ... ready ... go ...', then hold them in the air above the water while you go underwater.
I'm sure Amélie will find this fun in the future but this time she missed it, because when I went underwater she was looking at the instructor. Even when I came back up, with my big silly grin she was looking away.
After this we did last weeks new routine check this article although this time we did it in pairs and the instructor held our shoulders to check we were staying under for at least 2 seconds. It was at this point things turned sour. I noticed Amélie was immediately in a bad mood, and she didn't calm down very quickly.
She was fine to continue though and we moved on to side holding swim position. She likes this and kicks her legs every time. We did this a couple of times, and did the 2 routines we learned at the start of the term check this article I'm finding these two routines a little easier now. It helps to have them higher up on your chest. The one where their back is to your chest is much easier than chest to chest but I mange pretty well now with both.
Next we did holding onto the side, Amélie really pulls herself up now and I don't have to position her hands. She grabs for the bar on her own, and for the first time ever she managed to hold on for a few seconds today.
Next was a moving underwater swim, I sensed I should miss this out so I did. The instructor noticed and told me to do another which is when all hell broke loose. Amélie came up crying and in a real mood. She pretty much cried through the whole of the second half of the lesson. She missed out on all the other underwater swims as she was crying too much. She cried through the second holding onto the side.
She stopped crying at times but whenever she predicted she was going to go underwater she started off again. Even at the end during back floating to twinkle twinkle little star she screamed so much I had to stop. Clare and I tried to get her smiling again at the side of the pool because we don't like ending on a bum note.
I think it is definitely the underwater parts which are the issue with her. I'm not going to skip all the underwater parts, especially seeing how much pleasure she gets out of the lessons during the good times.
Today my instinct was spot on, when I felt we should avoid the underwater swim and carried on regardless it was disastrous. That said I'm still unsure if it was the right or wrong thing to do. Do you pander to their fears and protect them. Slowly building their confidence up but perhaps perpetuating their fears and insecurities.
Or do you push them headlong out of their comfort zone, sure they may cry but you are there with them, and perhaps this will desensitise them, and show that their parent(s) don't think it's a big deal so why should they.
I think I tend towards the latter but guilt and uncertainty push me toward to the former. I wish someone could give me the right answer, but I guess it's a call every Parent has to make for themselves.