Last month Gabe started swimming lessons in the Kickers class with Puddle Ducks West Lancs. I wrote about how we were getting on after the first two lessons, and to be honest it wasn’t going well! This was nothing at all to do with the lessons themselves I hasten to add – it’s just that Gabe is not a fan of new things and going in the pool was not something he was eager to do!
But fast forward four weeks and we have made a breakthrough! After the first two lessons we had two weeks off for half term. We actually went swimming as a family, to the same pool as Gabe has his lessons, in the hope that seeing Toby and Daddy in the pool would encourage him to join in too. But if anything he was worse and cried more than ever.
Nevertheless, after the holidays we headed back to the pool for our third lesson. I hadn’t told Gabe where we were going because I didn’t want him to start getting worked up before we got there. But when we pulled into the car park he said ‘it’s swimming time? Yay!’ He seemed quite happy getting changed, and didn’t cry when we headed through to the pool. When it was time to get in though the tears started again.
So he sat on the side for a while and watched the other children. The crying stopped but he still didn’t want to get in the water. Our instructor Leah had given us a little rubber duck and I was getting Gabe to throw it in the pool then I would get it back and he was starting to really enjoy the game. Then came a part of the lesson where everyone put a little duck on a giant float in the middle of the pool then went under the water before getting their duck back. I asked Gabe if he wanted to put his duck on the float and he did! So he got in the water and we went over to the float. He was still clinging on to me for dear life but he was in the water!
He still didn’t want to join in with the lesson but we spent the rest of the lesson chasing the duck around the pool and he was actually happy to be in the water. I was so proud of him, and it was lovely that Leah, and even the other parents in the class were happy for us too.
Then last week we went to our lesson again. And this time, four weeks after that first lesson when Gabe spent the whole 30 minutes crying, we didn’t have a single tear. And not only that but after the first 5 or 10 minutes of chasing the duck round the pool again he actually joined in with everyone else in the lesson.
He happily held onto my back as we went round the pool, he laid on his back on a noodle, he kicked his legs, he put his face in the water and blew bubbles and he was enjoying it. And then, the giant float came out again. One by one Leah lifted the other children onto the float and they crawled to their parent who was waiting at the other side. We really didn’t think Gabe would want to do it, but after everyone else had a turn I asked Gabe if he wanted a go. He said yes. I still thought he would cry when I gave him to Leah, but he didn’t. He didn’t cry when he was on the float. He didn’t cry when he crawled across. And he didn’t cry when he slid off the edge into my arms.
Leah and I both had a tear in our eyes though, I was so proud of what he had managed to do. I’m so happy that we seem to have made a massive breakthrough. Leah has been brilliant throughout our lessons – even though we weren’t really joining in until last week she still included us, she spoke to Gabe and I really think she helped in building his confidence.
Gabe was so pleased with himself too when he got out of the pool and dressed again – just look at his little face!
And so this morning we are heading off for lesson number five and I am really hoping that what happened last week will be repeated today. Like I said in my last post I think swimming is such an important skill for everyone to learn, and if Gabe can be happy, safe, and confident in the water at two years old then I will be very happy too.
We’ve got a few more weeks before the Christmas break so I’ll be writing another post at the end of the term to let you know how we’ve been getting on, and you can also keep an eye on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates too.
And if you’re interested in finding out about Puddle Ducks lessons near you then you can find more information on their website.
**Disclosure: We are being provided with Puddle Ducks swimming lessons in exchange for sharing our experiences here. As always all opinions are my own.