Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A New Found Freedom!

Off to the pool. What is summer vacation without a few hundred trips to the pool? It is safe to say that the Shields' children have taken to the water like a fish to the sea! Ainsley even got in on the action. She is not a complete fan of the life jackets, but she tolerates them just fine.
Andrew took swim lessons! A lady, who lives here locally, takes residence at the park pool all summer and gives swim lessons. She has been doing this since the early 70's! Her name is Ms. Kathy and Andrew loves her. I have not heard him this excited about something. I think he told everyone he knows that he was in swim lessons. He took them with a buddy of his and the 2 of them had Ms. Kathy all to themselves!
They took their lessons for 1 week. We lived at the pool that week, soaking up the sun and learning to swim. The boys floated (with big Santa Clause bellies), learned the crawl stroke (with big ice cream scoop arms), and learned the back stroke (with tickle tickle, airplane, and then soldier arms). I had to learn the lingo Ms. Kathy used so I could help reinforce the moves when we were done!
Here is the superman glide which led to big kicks and ice cream scoop arms! Andrew informed me that in this picture his legs should not be out of the water. "You should kick with your feet, Mama, not your knees!"
Here is a demonstration of the back stroke. To get the concept across to the boys, she had them do tickle tickle arms (hands up under their arm pits), airplane arms (arms straight out from their sides), and then soldier arms (arms down by their sides). In this picture Andrew is going from soldier to tickle tickle. Certainly not the most conventional terminology, but it works. I love it! Safe to say, Andrew was sad when our week of lessons was over, but we still get to see Ms. Kathy when we go swimming, so that kind of makes up for it!

Ms. Kathy's big goal was to teach the boys to swim and then roll to their backs and float. If they were to get tired while swimming in water where they could not touch, this is a strategy that let's them back float and rest before going back to their active swimming. Andrew caught on for the most part, but wanted to put his feet down instead of float.

The most exciting part of the swim lesson came the new found confidence Andrew gained from he experience. His first big task was to go off the diving board. The park pool does not allow kids to go off the diving board in a life jacket, nor can a parent be there to catch them. It needs to be all them! Andrew took his first jump with Daddy waiting by the ladder if the need for assistance should arise. He LOVED it and the rest was history. Other than having to take a break due to sheer fatigue, Andrew would camp out in the deep end enjoying the diving board all day!

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