June 17, 2005

Swimming Lessons and Beach Days

We have been taking daily swim lessons at an area lake. The kids really enjoy it and it is good for me because it gets me outside every day. While they take their lessons Sirah and I play in the sand and water. Then since we have already gone through the effort of getting to the beach we stay and enjoy the afternoon for a few hours. Once you have done all the work to get there you might as well enjoy it!

I must admit I am enjoying being at the beach each day. I grew up on the ocean and I dealry miss it. While I am still not ready to admit that a lake shore is the same as an ocean shore it is admittedly more relaxing for me than worrying about the waves. The kids are able to stand in the water pretty far out and I have discovered that Rhiannon is a fish, just like me. She stays in the water nearly the entire time - the other day for over three hours straight.

I must admit amazement at her progress. We have worked little to none with her when it comes to swimming. She had a pretty strong fear of the water until recently so we never pushed it and I signed her up for a very early beginner class (her and Ciaran are actually in the same class) and she has progressed quickly. Her instructor let me know I should plan to advance her to the next level for the second session. She is clearly over her fear of water. Doing cannonballs and bellyflops off the dock. She is playing games holding hands and going under the water. She has taught herself to swim under water and is making progress on her doggie paddle, flutter kicks and back floats. I am guessing by the end of the summer she will have a grasp on swimming.

Ciaran is doing about what I expected - he is on the younger side and his attention span is pretty short. But his behavior and listening skills did improve when I told him I would take him out after the first class. He is learning some skills and still has little to no fear of the water - he is the one I most need to worry about and be on top of at the lake. Thankfully he has decided that he really wants to master catching fish and spends most of the day skimming the water with his net or bucket trying to catch them. So he is pretty self-contained and relatively easy to keep tabs on - atleast until the novelty of trying to catch fish wears off.

Sirah is loving the shoreline. She enjoys running up and down the shoreline in ankle deep water. Occasionaly she walks out far enough to squat down and get wet to her tummy - any higher than that and she is unhappy. Yesterday she got brave enough to lay down in the water and practice kicking - she spent nearly an hour doing that. I tried to bring her out into the deep water twice. She responded by clinging to me and saying hurts, cold, back there, out now - until I relented and we went back to shore where she resumed her usual activities. She also enjoyed digging in the sand and playing with her water wheel. When she gets cold she climbs up onto my lap and has me wrap a towel around us and she lays there like she is asleep until she is warm enough to get down again.

They have been relaxing and enjoyable days. We have settled into a routine and today when we did not have swim lessons we still went to the beach for two hours. We have a few more weeks of lessons to enjoy being outdoors - I may even sign up for the second session now. I am thankful the lessons are outdoors as we spend more time outside this way. I feel okay saying this because we already did have one rainy day and one cold day as well as two nice days for lessons so far. The rain was not as miserable as I feared and we still were outside on a day I would not usually have let them out. If you have an opportunity for outdoor lessons in a lake I recommend it. Of course I took my own lessons outside in the cold community pool, not in the nice indoor heated pools of todays lessons.


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