The babies had their very first swim lessons yesterday. We signed them up for a six week “water adjustment” class aimed for ages 6 months – 2 years. Meredith and Jake and another friend of mine and her twin girls have joined us. We thought 30 minute class seemed pretty short, but once we were in the water, we realized any more than 30 minutes would have been WAY too much.
Both babies were skeptical, especially Maria. While we were waiting for class to start I dipped her feet in the water and she was not pleased. I thought we were going to have to endure 30 minutes of shrieking. Grant wasn’t too sure about having his feet dipped either, but I eased into the water with him and he started to relax. Maria cried whenever we got her near the pool.
Once class started she was nervous, cried, and tried to climb up my body. To start, each parent was instructed to bring our shoulders under the water, place the babies on their stomachs and wrap their arms around our necks. We would then grab their legs and start kicking them. We did several passes across the pool like this. Maria was still not enthused, but Grant was starting to get into it despite taking in a few mouthfuls of water.
Next came the intense part…babies under water. We started by sprinkling water on their faces, so they could get used to how the water would feel when they came up. Maria HATES this; I always have to lean her back to get her hair wet when we bathe rather than squeezing a wash cloth over her head like I do for Grant. Once we finished water torture, we were instructed to count to three, blow in their faces and take them under water. The instructor had us do one baby at a time so she could work with each family. To my surprise, both babies did quite well. This eventually graduated to walking backward and taking each baby under water and allowing them to “swim” towards us before we brought them out. At this point, some others in the class started to express their displeasure. Jake went under twice and when Meredith asked if he wanted to go again he definitively said NO. Maria, who was now with Jeremy, seemed a bit uncomfortable, but got relief in the form of a HUGE burp…nothing like trying to drink the entire pool.
We worked on paddling their hands, holding onto the side, floating on their backs and more under water tricks. Finally, we got rubber duckies and Maria smiled. Baby water torture was over. Neither baby cried the whole time and nobody pooped. In my book that’s success.