When Juniordwarf was a baby, and I was still on maternity leave, we started water orientation classes with some of the other mothers and babies in our mothers group.
While the other babies really took to the pool, and had a great time, Juniordwarf was very reluctant and he never really enjoyed it.
When I went back to work, my days coincided with the swimming class, so we stopped going after only a couple of months.
Up until this year, we hadn’t really done much stuff in the pool. I’d taken Juniordwarf to the local pool and the aquatic centre a few times, but we hadn't done anything on a regular basis. He loved going in the pool, but he was never very confident and I had to hold onto him in all but the very shallowest water. He didn’t want to float on his stomach, kick his legs or use a kickboard.
This year, we decided to start Juniordwarf in regular swimming lessons so that someone who knows what they’re doing can show him the right way to do things.
He’s in a group with four other boys about his own age, some of whom had been doing swimming lessons for a while and some, like Juniordwarf, for whom this year was their first time in swimming lessons.
At the beginning, Juniordwarf thought the whole thing was a bit of a laugh and that he was just going for a ride around the pool like he did when he was in the pool with me.
But his teacher has been very persistent and, as the weeks have gone by, he’s started to kick his legs, put his face in the water and blow bubbles. He’s gone from having to be guided around the pool all the time to being able to propel himself around on his own for a short time, with the help of a pool noodle and a flotation backpack.
Last week was a huge breakthrough – he put his whole face in the water to blow bubbles. He’s started kicking his legs a lot more, especially when he’s sitting on the step waiting for his turn, and he’s becoming a lot more adventurous in the water.
Today he put his head in the water, and when he lifted his head out, he said, ‘my hair’s wet!’ as if he expected it to be dry. He also jumped into the pool at the end of the class, holding onto his instructor’s hands, almost from standing – he was reluctant, but he did it in the end.
I’m not surprised at that. He’s started jumping off a lot of things lately, which scares me sometimes, when I see how close he gets to crash landing onto something that is likely to hurt him.
It’s taken six months, but I think he’s finally starting to get the hang of what he’s supposed to do.
It’s great to see.