Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Proud of both my little swimmers

Swimming lessons have been one of this summer's delights. Both my girls are taking lessons this year, Joy for the first time and Rose for the third summer in a row.

In their identically-patterned suits and their matching blonde bobs, they look like quite the matched pair, but their reaction to water is quite different.

Rose enjoys getting wet and likes the idea of swimming, but she's been distressingly timid about the actual learning. She has such a vivid imagination about the terrors that await if she actually picks her feet up from the bottom of the pool! Her lessons for the first two summers were once weekly through her daycare program, and this year she gets twice a week via summer daycamp. I think it took her till midway into the second summer before she was willing to attempt "jump-ins". For some reason (maybe she talked a good "sure I can swim" show at the beginning of summer?) she got started in a group that was too advanced this summer, and ended up getting demoted two levels, down to the beginner-est level among her peers. Demoralizing, because she knew exactly what was happening.

Joy, on the other hand, has loved the water from the start. She's never complained about hair-washing in the bath, and loves feeling the water all around her. We were so happy this summer to find a swim-center that does one-on-one lessons for special-needs kiddos, for the same price as their small-group sessions. The goals of the first level of class at this center are modest: first, to get your child so he or she doesn't cry the whole session! We conquered that on the very first lesson -- the only time Joy cried was when it was time to get out. She has since submitted gamely to getting her face into the water regularly, and has begun to attempt to kick her legs.

Both girls had a stellar week last week (I swim with Rose down at the far end of the pool while Joy and the other classes are having their lessons in the other half of the pool). Joy has discovered jump-ins, and willingly splashes forward down into the arms of her teacher -- they put another staffer behind her at poolside to keep her from running away when she's on the edge preparing to jump, having learned their lesson last month.

At the same time, Rose has finally discovered that she can swim a forward crawl ("ice-cream-scoops") or breast-stroke ("pizza arms") for the length of an entire breath.

So there I was last week at one end of the pool, watching my younger daughter leap in with a lovely splash at the other end of the pool, with my older daughter repeatedly swimming out to me from the edge.

I'm so proud of both my little swimmers!


Niksmom said...

what a great feeling! congrats!

Anonymous said...

That sounds so wonderful that Joy enjoys swimming. And I'm sure that Rose will eventually get braver! She is following in the footsteps of her big cousin, PJ, who was sure that the black lines in the bottom of the pool were holes and he was going to fall into them!(Now, almost two decades later, PJ no longer fears the pool!! See, there's hope!! LOL!) Joy is following her cousin KJ, though, who has also never seemed to be afraid of the pool and used to spend hours jumping in to me over and over!!
I'm glad you have had an activity to enjoy so much this summer! This is certainly such a classic kid thing to do in the summer! I am so glad, for Joy, that she is able to enjoy something like this that is so "normal" and "typical" for kids to do! I hope we'll see some pictures of our swimming nieceys sometime soon!!

Anonymous said...

ha! with all the Olympic swimming going on, i'm going to be thinking "pizza arms" when i watch the breast-stroke on TV!