Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Swim Lessons

Andy and I both taught swim lessons in our younger years. So, I always assumed we'd just save money each summer and teach our own kids to swim. However, we've learned that's much easier said than done. Despite our best efforts to teach her to swim, Ava is a little hesitant in the water. I don't want to say fearful, because she loves being in the pool, but she won't put her face in, freaks out when she gets water in her eyes and annoyed when people splash. Andy and I have both tried to help her feel comfortable in the water, but thought it best this summer to enroll her in swim lessons and see how she does when it's someone other than Mom or Dad teaching her. Jax is quite the opposite of his big sister. We have to always keep our eyes on him in the pool because the boy has no fear. He jumps in, he goes under water, he tries to swim on his own. But, we put him in lessons anyway, just so he had something fun to do.

The kids started lessons Monday. Ava is in Level 1, Jax is in a Parent/Tot class (because of his age) with Andy. I sit pregnant on the side, under the awning and offering quiet encouragement to Ava via facial expressions and thumbs-up, and try my hardest not to jump in and take over the lesson (the teachers are VERY inexperienced). I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure how Ava would do, especially when the first day of class her teachers (there's three of them) told her to do "bobs," which require her to go completely under water, blowing the air out of her nose and mouth. She looked at me and grimaced, but I gave her a smile and mouthed, "You can do it." So, she tried. She didn't make it ALL the way under, but she went further than ever before, even getting her eyes wet. She popped her head up and immediately looked at me, a big smile (which is so cute with a missing tooth) and a bit of pride on her face. From there, she did great, doing everything she asked, smiling and giggling. When lessons were over I greeted her with her towel and a big hug, telling her how well she did. I asked how she felt and she said, "Great! I got braver today." She sure did.

Doing her "bobs"

 Practicing her kicking. I just love her face! She's working really hard to make big splashes.

Today, she even wore a life jacket and floated in the deep end. It took some convincing from her teacher and me for her to let go of the wall, but once she realized the life jacket made her buoyant, she did fine. Some of the kids in her class were jumping off the edge, going under water and bouncing back up, but she said she wasn't quite ready for that, and I'm not going to push her. At the end of the day she said, "I think I was even more brave today than yesterday."

Jax excels in his class. His teacher seems impressed by how much he can already do in the water. He loves splashing around in the wading pool and "diving" for the octopus (a little sink toy that he throws in and retrieves once it hits the bottom). He puts his face in, blows bubbles, kicks and even goes all the way under the "raining mushroom." Today, he went into "Ava's pool", as he calls it (the big pool) and jumped off the side. He didn't even want Daddy to catch him, he just jumped in, went all the way under and then let Andy help him up to the surface. The best part of his class though, is the special time Jax and Daddy have together. It's not very often that they hang out just the boys, so I love seeing them playing and enjoying the pool with each other.
How handsome is he?!

 The kids really love their swim lessons and can't wait to go back each day. I love seeing their smiling faces and hearing their excited giggles as I watch them during their classes. And, I especially love how worn out they are after their lessons which makes them  fall asleep quickly each night!

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