There are several important life skills that Chris and I feel are a priority for our kids to possess. One such skill is knowing how to swim. We don't really do much swimming - especially at this stage in life - though we love to play in the water. However, we still want our kiddos to know how to swim should the need arise.
Last summer, we enrolled Brianna in swim lessons at a local school where my niece is a student. We were very happy with the experience (even though I was super sick every day as I was newly pregnant with the twins . . . good memories :-), so we decided to follow the same route this year. We enrolled both Brianna and Brenson in the same class, along with their cousin, Chloe Jo. I wasn't concerned at all with how Brianna would do, but I was a bit worried about Brenson. He's slow-to-warm and often resists new situations at first. However, we spent a lot of time talking up swim lessons to him, telling him he'd be in class with Brianna and Chloe Jo (and therefore be a "big kid"), and helping build his confidence by telling him what a great job he'd do. By the time the first day of lessons arrived, Bren was just as excited as the girls!
The lessons were M-F from July 20th to July 31st at 10:00am. Of course, I had the babies in tow every day, and I wasn't sure how they'd do with this much activity. An outing every day was A LOT for all of us! However, for the most part, they did GREAT!
There were many days that one or both of them would drift off to sleep in the stroller. It was super warm and humid inside the gym, so I think that helped.
Sweet, sleepy babies :-)
Bren, Brianna, and Chloe Jo . . . anxiously waiting for their class to begin.
The first day was fantastic. Everyone did well, got in the water with no problems, and followed directions exactly. We had 8 kids in our class the first day, so that was a good size. However, things went downhill in a hurry, and I ended up being really disappointed with the overall experience this year. When we arrived for lessons the second day, we discovered that there was a construction crew at the gym tearing out the bleachers. This was a LOUD process (being demolition in a gym), and Bren is sensitive to noise. He ended up crying off and on throughout the entire class. By Day 3, the noise was even worse as the construction crew began installing new, METAL bleachers. Also, we kept acquiring students in our class. The classes are supposed to cap out at 10, but we had 13 students in our class by Day 3!
Poor Bren couldn't concentrate on anything but covering his ears :-(.
The noise didn't bother the girls as much, but Bren was SO unhappy.
We did call the main office and express our concerns with the situation. At one point, the construction crew was WELDING and cutting the metal bleachers inside the gym while lessons were going. There were sparks flying everywhere and it was a huge distraction. Basically, we were told that they would try to keep the noise level down during class, but that it had to be done. Weather (we had an exceptionally rainy summer) had thrown off scheduling and there was no choice but to do the construction during class. Sigh. I understand that things have to be done, but I felt like it lacked integrity on the part of the district to continue to hold classes in those conditions. Many of the kids were disturbed/disrupted by the commotion, and it was often so loud that the instructors could not speak or teach over the noise, so they were frustrated as well. It just ended up being a bad deal all around.
Despite all this, I do think the kiddos benefited from the lessons . . . especially the girls.
Chloe Jo learning to float
Brianna learning to float
Bren trying to learn to float but more worried about the noise level :-(.
Learning to kick and keep body position
Playing class games to help the kids learn how to dunk their heads in the water. Our class size did go back down the second week as several kids dropped due to the noise and construction.
Practicing more floating and kicking
Enjoying a little free play time!
On the last day, all the kids had the opportunity to jump off the diving board at the deep end. Last year, neither Brianna nor Chloe Jo wanted anything to do with that. This year however, Brianna really wanted to jump off that diving board. She talked about it so much that Bren decided he wanted to do it, as well. When it came time to do it, Bren did get on the diving board, but he just couldn't make himself jump. I was so proud of him for even getting up there, though! Brianna hesitated quite a bit, but did finally jump in! She was so excited after she got out of the water! We were very proud of her for taking the plunge!
The kids also all got certificates of completion with a few comments on the last day.
Chloe Jo with her certificate
Bren so excited about his certificate, ha!
Bren's certificate shows that he has several elements that still need work. Ms. Angela wrote that he needs to work on independently entering and exiting the water, keeping his face under water longer, and strengthening his kick. It is recommended that he repeat Level 1. She wrote, "Through all of the distractions, you do a great job!"
Brianna still feeling a rush from jumping off the diving board :-).
Brianna's certificate shows that she passed all the elements of Level 1 and graduated to Level 2. Ms. Angela wrote that she has a great kick and did a great job!
It was definitely quite a job to get everyone up, ready, and out the door on time every day for lessons, but I am glad we did them. Like I said above, I was pretty disappointed that the noise and construction kind of ruined the experience for Brenson, but I also feel like it's a good life lesson for him that not everything is going to be perfect all the time. I was so pleased with how the babies adjusted to going everyday, and I'm glad I didn't decide to skip lessons this year on their account.