Thursday, May 14, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Summer is almost here and with that comes swimming, which is great, especially here
in South Alabama. The problem comes when your children do not know how to swim. I had 
this dilemma a few years ago. I wanted to go to the pool but only one of my 3 children knew
how to swim, and he was not a strong swimmer at all. So we took lessons. Everyone got in the
water and we played games and blew bubbles in the water but after an entire week, we still didn't
know how to swim. My Mom and I started talking to several people who were having the same
results. We realized there was a problem. Let me say here, I understand getting your child over a 
fear of water but, honestly, if my child doesn't know how to swim, I want them to be afraid of the 
water. We finally talked to a friend who was having great success with her child's swimming lessons. 
The teacher lived about an hour away and we got her to come teach mine and several other children
how to swim. She was amazing. Within a week, every child was swimming. As it always goes, others 
found out about our success and wanted to go to Ms. Janet. But, again, she actually teaches an hour 
away and that isn't convenient for everyone so my sister, Michelle Colbert, trained with Mrs. janet and
now is in her 3rd summer of teaching swimming lessons. She is so patient with the kids. I really don't 
know how she does it because the first 2 days everyone is screaming. 
Ellie needed a refresher course, as she did last year (common until they are 4). So we went to 
swimming lessons yesterday. Riley went also, just for good measure. So here is what we do whether 
experienced or not....
Michelle gets each child individually from the steps and takes them out to about 3 feet from the side of the pool.
She then tells them to kick their feet and move their arms and she pushes them to the side. No, this doesn't happen the first time and most of the time the kids are screaming when they get out. But, trust me, it does kick in. 
Ellie is 3 and she has been able to swim for 2 years. She learned right before she turned 2. It is really amazing to watch. After the first day, you think it will never happen but it does. They realize the wall is there and they can grab it to get out. Some parents think it is crazy to put your child in a situation that will make them cry. All I can say is, I would rather they cry a little and learn to get out of the water if they were to fall in than to have a child drown. This is a very controlled environment where every child has an adult with them and Michelle is right there. 

We wanted to make sure Riley remembered, also. She did so Michelle worked with her on lifting her head out of the water to take a breath while swimming so she can swim further.

A big key to learning to swim is kicking your feet and using 'BIG' arms to push the water away. So we practiced that on the side of the pool. This also gives everyone a little break from the water.

On the 2nd or 3rd day, we go to the deep end. The child gets on the ladder and jumps off to Michelle. She gets them, turns them around, reminds them to kick and use their arms, and pushes them back to the ladder. All the parents are there waiting to lend a hand getting the children out and cheering them on.

I feel it is truly a blessing that my children can swim. Don't worry!! I still don't let them go to the pool alone and we take commonsense precautions around the water. It has been a lot less stressful ,however, going to the pool and just having fun instead of worrying the whole time. I am also very proud of my sister for dedicating her time to teaching children to swim. She is really amazing (have I said that?). God has given her a passion for this and I think that is why she is so good at it.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fun with Friends

We went to the the mall with our friends, the Shivers, yesterday.We were supposed to go to their house and play on the slip and slide but the weather did not cooperate. So we went to the mall instead. Who wouldn't want to go ride the carousel and get a
cookie? OK, the cookie is the highlight for me. ha! Beth Anne, John Mark,
Riley, and Ellie had so much fun together. The big girls are the same age and the little kids are the same age. Don't you just love when your friends' children are the same ages as your children? We love the Shivers. Emily and I have been friends long before children came along and she is precious. She loves the Lord and encourages me in my walk with Him. She is such a blessing. I hope our children can have that same kind of friendship.  
Riley and Beth Anne are 7 weeks apart in age. They are doing the typical girl things. Being silly and telling 'secrets'. They are so funny to watch. Do you remember the days of being a little girl? We had a great time! I hope the summer holds many fun times like these.