Amélie is exactly 15 months old today. This is also the first time Clare wasn't with us, so the picture today is recycled from last week.
I didn't have Clare to help, so I got Amélie dressed and ready to go 45 minutes early. The lesson plan was the same as last week with 3 exceptions. There were 2 new routines, and we had a holiday swim race. We raced for a full length of the pool in pairs, and Amélie held on right to the end. It's great to be able to swim with your toddler holding onto your shoulders. The Mother who raced me picked the short straw as her baby was a good few months older hence heavier than Amélie, and she was racing a man.
The first new routine was called painting. So far we have been in control of our toddlers, we decide when they go underwater. What we are moving to now is for them to electively do it of their own free will. This is what this game is all about.
The toddlers are in a circle and shout out a colour. Amélie hasn't learned to say any colours yet so couldn't join in with the shout. Let us say the colour is blue, we then say 'pour in the blue paint'. The instructor mimes this and the toddlers copy. Then we say 'mix up the blue paint', the instructor mimes this by splashing the water, the toddlers copy. Then it's 'paint our faces blue' and the instructor uses her hands to splash water into her face, and again the toddlers copy.
We go through this again with a different colour, only at the end we replace 'paint our faces' with 'paint our hair' and the toddlers splash water over their heads and hair. We do another set with a different colour, say red for example. This time at the end we say 'blow red bubbles' and we all put our faces into the pool and blow bubbles.
This was the first time we have done this routine, so it was a bit patchy. I remember when we first did 'monkey monkey monkey' it was so patchy it almost seemed pointless. A few lessons of that though and they all do it perfectly (apart from our very own Amélie who can only go to the left still). No doubt this game will be played perfectly in a few lessons time.
The other new routine was torpedoes. Your toddler is holding onto the side of the pool, you are behind them. You lift them up a bit and say '1' then back down and up for '2' then again for '3' . At that point you put your foot on the side wall and quickly push yourself away from the edge as you say 'torpedo' bringing your toddler with you. So you are dragging them off the side and back rather suddenly and rather quickly.
Amélie squealed with delight the first time we did this, and craned her neck around to give me a broad smile. She loved it just as much the second time also. She finds many of the routines fun, but not always the first time. The last time I really gave it some oomph and she was really giggling. The instructor said that pretty soon your toddler will get used to the game and torpedo themselves backwards. You will just stand behind and catch them.
The last couple of lessons there have been new routines introduced that give a glimpse of things to come. While waiting for this morning's lesson I saw the class before us doing the jumping in routine that we learned last week. They were really jumping into the deep end very well. The baby swimming lessons gave amazing progress and I was concerned that the toddler lessons had stalled. I feared we would be doing the same thing week after week, but now it looks like our toddlers will be stretched again.
We have had many good instructors but our current instructor really is outstanding. You can see that her heart is in it and she makes a huge effort with the toddlers. I've had a nightmare of a week, the worst in years but as soon as I got into that pool I'd forgotten all about it. Even as I was trudging back to the car in the rain in my flip flops carrying Amélie and our bags I was still in great spirits.
Due to our disastrous week I may not be able to make next weeks lesson. If at all possible I'll be there and will pen an article covering any new content.