Saturday, July 24, 2010

Swimming Baby!

I can't remember a time in my own life when I couldn't swim, and I have always felt a need to be close to water sources.  When I was deciding on a college, I chose mine for two water-based reasons.  First, I saw a poster for Humboldt State that featured a fountain in an open area with people sitting on the edge studying. The fountain was not pretty (I have since seen a documentary about it called "The World's Ugliest Fountain"), and it seemed like the kind of fountain you could get in and dance around without anyone minding.  This was essential to me, especially after I had attempted to dance in a fountain in Rome only to be yelled at by police.  So the fountain was the draw.  Then, when I went to visit, I took a tour.  I saw the fountain and it seemed to fit the bill.  I saw the campus and the town and everything about both fit my needs and personality perfectly, but I still wasn't sure.  Finally, I asked the tour guide for directions to the closest beach, about 5 minutes away.  As soon as my feet touched the water of the Pacific I knew I was home.  It was that simple for me.  

So, for me, it was important that my daughter be connected to water as well.  I swam in the lake while pregnant, and was kayaking as close as 5 days before I gave birth.  Sometimes I joke that I paddled her right out.  We had a home water birth, and the three of us bonded in the tub for a good half hour before she left that warm water.  She bathed with me the next day, and instantly loved being in water.  When she was old enough, we signed her up for swim classes, and it has been so amazing to see her fall in love with swimming.

As soon as she sees the pool, she starts smiling and waving her arms.  Once she's in the water it's all smiles and splashes.  And even when she goes under water, she smiles there too!  

I highly recommend swimming classes for infants.   One of my baby books says that they don't suggest swimming classes for infants and toddlers, but that seems silly to me.  You can't treat it like it will train a baby to swim on their own without supervision, but you can get water safety, skills, and comfort through classes early and often.  

I am including two videos of my daughter Violet swimming, and one of a child who is far more advanced using the ISR method.

Violet Swimming 1

Violet Swimming 2

ISR Method, taken from YouTube.  Our instructor doesn't teach this method, but I am interested in it and love the results seen in this video.

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