Our baby is exactly 7 months old, and today we completed our 20th swimming lesson. Next week we move up to the next level, and a brand new term.
Amélie is now very confident in the water, and takes part in everything. Once the usual routines we do at the start were over, it was time for the double underwater swim which was introduced last week. Amélie didn't skip a beat and I didn't need to distract her, she is just so comfortable now above and below the waterline.
Nearer the end of the lesson we did the routine where you both go underwater facing each other, and when your baby hit's the bottom of the pool you let go and watch them swim up to the surface. When I came up out of the water Amélie had to patiently wait while I coughed and spluttered on the bit of water I'd taken in. It was a real reversal, the student had become the master!
We went through a lot of the routines we have covered in previous articles, and the favourite fish chasing game was back. We did the move where you sit your baby on the side of the pool and pull them in. Clare covered this in the article she did a couple of weeks ago, but it was my first time. I was surprised at how eager Amélie was to slide herself in.
The only new thing we did during this lesson was as follows. The instructor sits on the side of the pool. You pass your baby to them and they sit them on their knees facing you. You are in the pool, facing the side of the pool, the instructor, and your baby. Then the instructor throws your baby into the pool for you to catch.
We were told not to worry if the baby's head is submerged on splash down, as we would advance to that soon anyway. When it came to my turn I was expecting a gentle splash, but she was thrown quite hard and splashed in very heavily. Certainly no softer than if she had jumped in off a little diving board (there isn't really a mini diving board) at the side of the pool.
I didn't know what to expect, crying, fear, shock? She just looked at me calmly as if to say, 'what's next Dad?'. It's amazing that all 7 babies are fearless when it comes to water. I remember my Mother taking me, armbands and all when I was 5 or 6 years old and Amélie is doing more at 7 months old than I was at 7 years old.
As we finished the lesson with hand holding back floating I remembered those days with my own Mother at the pool. I remember lying on my back and my Mum assuring me I'd float if she let go. The problem was that as soon as my ears went under water I panicked and sat up, sinking and taking in a lot of water. I still remember that almost 30 years on, as I look at Amélie calmly floating on her back, with the water lapping around her ears.
The only disappointing part of the lesson was holding onto the side. She seems to have gone backwards and was holding on better a few weeks ago. At home when we let her stand on her own holding onto a chair or table we repeat 'hold on, hold on, hold on', so I don't know why she isn't doing it at the pool.
Next week we start a new level, so I'm expecting to learn a load of new routines and positions. Last week I started working on the diagrams section so take a look and let me know what you think.
To see part 1 of the diagrams click here