Tess Survival Swim – Tiny Bubbles

Water safety is something Zach and I believe very strongly in. Of course, having a pool, it’s a MUST DO for our family but even just visiting other pools or bodies of water it’s such a peaceful feeling to know that our children know how to stay safe. Nothing is full proof, but from early ages our kids have been taught the proper way to swim and the best way to save themselves if a water related incident were to occur. Having three kids to watch in the water can be stressful but Kye and Britt can FULLY swim with no help at ALL required from us so we’re able to just focus on Tess and actually be able to PLAY with our kids in the water! It’s awesome!


I wrote very detailed posts regarding survival swim lessons (we LOVE Tiny Bubbles!): this is Kye’s and this is Britt’s.


Kye has not had any swim lessons the past couple of years now. He’s old enough to choose things to learn about that he’s more interested in and swimming just hasn’t been his “thing.” I still wanted Britt to get a good refresher this year (and she LOVES IT) so she took a lesson a week for 5 weeks (you can see that post here). Since Tess was still so little last Feb, we waited until this Feb to do her lessons. The timing was a little bit rough b/c she had JUST started hardcore with the potty (I swear I have potty posts to come).


I knew going into the lessons that it was going to be tough with Tess. She LOVES the water, so that wouldn’t be the issue. And she also is a lot more daring/risk-taking than Britt so I figured she wouldn’t mind the actual lessons either. But she does NOT like going to unfamiliar people and I knew having Ms. Margie take her in the pool would be the deal breaker for this Mama’s girl!


Tess’s first lesson was on Feb 15th (18 months old)…and it was her first sucker (I’ve learned to never give my kids suckers until swim starts…it’s the best incentive!).



Britt did her lesson first in hopes that it would help Tess warm up to the idea!

As expected, she cried the whole time! Kye was with us (school was out) and he was SUPER upset seeing her so upset. He about cried himself and had to go inside as to avoid seeing her like that! Even though she cried a lot…she did AWESOME. She closed her mouth going under the water, didn’t take in any water, and LOVED that sucker ๐Ÿ˜‰


On Day 2 she had a lot less crying but Kye still couldn’t hang ๐Ÿ˜‰ He said “I can’t even handle this” and left right from the start! Margie said Tess’s body was VERY loose (not stiff) and that she was doing every single thing Margie asked of her but that she just didn’t like doing it. She kept saying “yay” and clapping for herself and saying “done”


On Day 3 she kicked on her own and even reached for the ledge! She did super good closing her mouth and really barely cried at all. The actual hand off from my arms to Margie’s arms was the worst part! At home she was all about “kick kick kick”


Video of kicking with help

Getting the ledge


Day 4: video improving getting the ledge



Day 5: Going under and kicking on own!



We went to Disney while Tess had swim and it worked out one of the days that swim got canceled due to weather issues and Casey was able to take her to the other day for us! I appreciate it so much and Casey said she was legit swimming ๐Ÿ™‚

When we got back from Disney I was blown away! She was kicking on her own and reaching and truly swimming! Guess a break from Mommy did her good ๐Ÿ˜‰ On day 9 she did take in a good bit of water and had a HUGE tee tee accident.


video 1 day 9

video 2 day 9

On Day 10 Tess started turning onto her back on her own. She also swam on her own a bit and tried to get to the steps!

swimming to wall

swimming and star fish

Days 11 and 12 were AMAZING. She was swimming, swimming swimming and not minding one bit about going under the water AND she wasn’t swallowing a lot of water either. It did make me more nervous watching her than I’ve felt in the past. I don’t know if it’s the third kid thing (“my babbby”) or if it’s just because the way she looked when under the water but it def made me feel a tad panicky watching. She looked a little panicked when she finally would get air and Margie did say that it’s best for them to hold their breath to the limit to help make that connection of startfish = air = positive experience! Makes sense!



Going under and swimming


 going under (day 12)

Day 13 is when we hit a pretty big bump in the road for Tess. She was pretty pitiful. She had a low grade temp and was teething and constipated. She still rolled awesome and was arching her back a bit in her starfish so Ms. Margie used a little outfit thing to help keep her arms in.


She rolls from her left side over to her back and it’s important to use the word “rest” for her while she’s starfishing as she has a hard time calming down in her starfish.


chewing fingers = teething baby


 Toes on blue then rolling to swim

Resting then rolling to swim


Ms Margie loves our girls! So sweet!



We had to miss Day 16 due to Tess getting strep. The month of March was THE WORST for Tess as she dealt with so many issues (teething, constipation, strep, stomach virus, WHEW) and I felt so bad that it all fell at the same time as swim!!!


I had a super hard time watching days 17 and 18. I know being sick threw her off and she just didn’t have a “pretty” starfish. She’s kick and kick and get very frantic and not calm down like she needed to. She seemed so stubborn and ANGRY. I wrote down to remind myself at home to tell her to rest rest rest her toes and tell her no kicking!


On day 18 we had her wear jeans and tennis shoes in hopes of stopping the kicking in her starfish. Yall. Whew. I legit held back tears watching her! I’m SO thankful for everything Margie does. She truly LOVES these children enough to see them upset but continue to teach them how to save themselves!!!

kicking in starfish

This is what I’m talking about and what freaks me out!


Ms. Margie had me bring a jacket and it helped a TON with her starfish issues! Day 20 was a BIG “click” day where everything really came together! She did her resting starfish and Mommy not only felt proud but felt RELIEVED ๐Ÿ™‚


Better starfish!


swimming from the ledge

one more video off the ledge!



Day 21 we went for it with all her clothes on to make sure if she were to fall in our pool she could save herself!


off steps

off ledge

On the last day of survival swim it’s graduation day! Margie has a set of routines she goes through with each child to make sure they are “water safe.” It’s really amazing to watch her at work and how she has it all down to such a science. She’s so passionate about keeping children safe around water (drowning is a VERY legitimate thing yall.) and that really comes through watching her interact with her students. I’m truly so thankful to have her in our lives and the blessing she’s been for our family! Nothing is better than the peace of mind I have knowing my children can swim!!!


Tess graduation 1

Tess graduation 2


I’m SO proud of Tess! She fought through a bunch of crud and sicknesses and still graduated from survival swim! We have another fish in the family and I LOVE IT!


Since we do have a pool in our backyard I’m hardcore about getting in with the kids to keep up their skill set. We typically try to get Tess in the water every other day for at least a few minutes. Since she finished up in March with her lessons and we didn’t swim swim in our pool until May there was awhile between the two. She really struggled with her starfish and I struggled to work with her. I didn’t want to teach her wrong and I just had such a dang hard time seeing her struggle that it all wasn’t working together at all.


I called Ms. Margie and we had a little “refresher” lesson. I got in the pool with her and for 30 min or so Ms. Margie got her back on track and coached me up on how to best handle it all with her. It was EXACTLY what we needed!!! I couldn’t get over the INSTANT improvement!!!


If you don’t watch any other videos WATCH THIS ONE!


Since the day of the refresher, Tess has been GO GO GO in the water! She jumps off the steps to me (which my other two never would do). She ASKS to starfish. She swims to the ledge. She swims to Zach. She swims to anyone and everyone. AND she will roll, take a breath, and roll over again to keep swimming! It’s crazy to see a not-even-2-year-old swim the way she does. I love that she’s learned these skills, that she’s safer in the water, and that we can have FUN together!!!!

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