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Friday, April 24, 2015

Britt's Swim 2015

Every year since Kye took his survival swim course at Tiny Bubbles I've been a HUGE believer in their program and in swim education for our children.  Britt also did survival swim and Tess will have the survival course next winter as well. 

The survival swim course is pretty intense. It's 4 days a week for 5 weeks, 10 minutes each lesson. My goal is to REALLY work with my kids at home to keep up their skill set so they only ever have to do the survival course once. After the survival course I work with them a lot at home and do follow up lessons as needed and then do swim lessons each year as a refresher for them. 

The least expensive time for lessons is in Feb! The winter rates are lower and it's better to get the kids in the water before pool season kicks off. Last year I only did 5 refresher classes for Britt and regretted it. We were in the pool a TON with me being so pregnant but that belly also made it hard for me to work with Britt the way I needed to. She needed more time with Mrs Margie and more instruction. I couldn't give her what she needed and I really saw a decline in her skill set. I was worried about her ability to save herself if she were to fall in the water. I talked with Margie and decided to do 10 lessons this year. Double the amount of last year to really make sure she had her skills back in place! We did 20 min lessons and it was an individual class. 

Zach and I talked about it in depth and decided not to enroll Kye in lessons this year. He is a GREAT swimmer. At this point he'd just be learning more detailed type stuff like strokes and perfecting his abilities. He doesn't need the lessons in order to have him be safe in the water and he has more swimming abilities than probably most adults do ha! It'd be more just for fun for him and if he someday wants to do more with swimming we will of course support that. We asked him and it wasn't something he really wanted to do, so we didn't do it. With him having school every day it was tricky to take him to lessons last year so it made it a little easier on me to just have one kid enrolled this year!

I scheduled Britt's swim for 11:10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 5 weeks. It started mid-Feb and ended at the end of March! It was tough as it meant I had to wake Tess at 10:45 and rush to get there then feed Tess a bottle while Britt swam. As soon as she got done we had to drive across town to pick up Kye from school. Get to the house and eat lunch (I made their lunches at 10:30 and kept them in the fridge) and I pumped while they ate then got everyone in the bed for their naps at 1. It was a pretty intense and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty relieved when her lessons were over ha! But oh my goodness was it worth it!!!

Last summer Britt wouldn't even do a starfish anymore. And star fishing is really the main thing that saves a child if they fall in (they float on their backs). I knew she NEEDED these lessons and she really, really resisted at first. Which I expected. What I didn't expect? How quickly she picked it all back up and how much she loved it. 

Day 1 included a good bit of tears and resistance


Even though Britt wasn't super happy about it, she did everything Mrs Margie asked of her and did it well! I almost felt silly for telling Mrs Margie how badly Britt needed the lessons! The first time she had Britt starfish, she did it flawlessly. I'm interested to see how that translates at home this summer. Last year Britt wanted to just "play on the steps" all the time but I'm really hoping with her new found love of swimming that she'll actually want to SWIM rather than us having to MAKE her swim!



Taking notes for her survival swim lessons next year
(Sidenote: I do really well when my kids are learning the survival stuff but I have a feeling I'm gonna be a HOT MESS when it's Tess's turn! I hate hate hate seeing her upset!)




One thing I'm really trying to work on is including the family more in things. I just haven't had a close extended family experience so I simply don't think about letting people know about things going on with us! I'm so glad I thought to let everyone know as Britt LOVED having surprise visitors come watch her swim! Mrs. Charlotte, Aunt Karen, Casey, Carter and Zach all came to watch some of her lessons. Her very first lesson I had Titus to play and Kye didn't have school so she had quite the crowd that day too ;) Everyone's support made her feel like such a big girl and I liked having the extra help too! I lucked out and my friend Julie had the time slot after us. So she'd hold Tess while I got Britt changed after swim! It takes a village, right? 


Britt fussed a couple times about having to go to swim but then she was excited to get to go and would wake up asking if it was swim day! She would want to put her suit on early in the day and LOVED that Mrs. Margie gave her "homework." 

Britt's biggest swim struggle is her kicking. Mrs. Margie said it's common when kids go through a big growth spurt. She doesn't extend her legs all the way and it looks like she's walking in the water rather than kicking. It's the main thing we need to work on this summer. She started practicing in the bath and even just on the floor. Here's a video 






Britt went from not even doing her starfish last summer to swimming across the pool! She can hold her breath for a crazy long time and Mrs. Margie said not to worry about it. She will flip and get air when she needs it. She's just got the lungs of a swimmer. I loved swimming when I was a kid and seeing the love Britt has for it makes me wonder if she will follow in my footsteps! 



Other than working on long legged, little kicks with Britt I also want to work with her on different ways to work her muscles. Mrs. Margie said holding their arms in different positions will really help work different parts of their bodies. She said it's a good work out for me to try too! Have her hold one hand on her head and one on her tummy and then switch and do arms up ("princess crown") are all good things to work with her on. 

My FAVORITE thing to watch her do was her princess crown. It was so adorable :)



A little boy swam before us and cried the entire lesson. Bless his heart. I felt so bad for his grandma who came with him every time because I'm sure it was hard for her to watch. But even if they cry the whole time, they are STILL learning the skills! He knew what to do and it was awesome to watch. I have SO MUCH respect for Margie and what she does. I can't imagine hearing kids cry all day long but she's so dedicated to teaching water safety. Her passion is very obvious and it's a blessing our babies get to learn from her. 

I think seeing the boy upset helped Britt to want to be that "big kid" even more. She would be eager for her turn in the water and loved that she got to go down the slide when she was done with swim!




Since Britt did SO awesome on the basic stuff, she was already able to start learning some stroke basics. Y'all. I was amazed at how quickly she picked it all up and how much she LOVED it. She especially loves "slicing the pizza" (which is the arm motions for breast stroke...ironic since breast is my personal favorite too!). She even got to start on back stroke and on "chicken t soldier" motions. She JUST turned 3 and is already able to legit swim. She even started being able to dive for sticks under the water and jump in and swim to the ledge on her own. I'm in awe of her!


Seeing Britt's love of swimming develop over the course of these lessons truly brought me to tears. Kye has always been a good swimmer but the LOVE of it that Britt has is something I haven't yet seen my children have. She just loves it! And it makes my heart so happy to see my child find something they enjoy so much and have a natural talent for. I'm not saying she'll be some Olympian swimmer or even want to join a swim team, but right now she would have stayed in lessons forever if I'd let her! She was so sad when they were over and is SO eager to be able to swim in our pool this summer. I'm really hopeful that everything that "clicked" with her in lessons will translate to home as well. I have never been so excited for summer! I can just picture her and Kye racing across the pool, playing games together, and just having FUN! I'm so beyond proud of Britt! She's my little mermaid for sure!!!


It was tough for me to take a lot of pics and videos during lessons because I was feeding Tess but I did get these videos of her:

Swimming from the ledge and back (doing "slice the pizza")
Back stroke and Chicken T Soldier (I love hearing her little voice say it!)
My biggest thing was knowing Britt can save herself if she falls in...here's her doing her starfish when "falling in"


If you are local I cannot recommend Tiny Bubbles enough. Not only did my kids learn survival skills from an early age but they also learned to be able to SWIM so they can ENJOY the pool (and impress anyone we meet ha!). 

You can learn more about my experiences with survival lessons here:


Can't wait for lots and lots of swimming fun this summer!!!

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