Sunday, January 16, 2011

Emma's swimming lessons, among other things

So Emma and I have been going to parent-toddler swimming lessons for the past two Saturdays now, and I must say that the vast changes from her first week to her second are incredible! We start off with a shower which Emma used to freak out over (by this I mean, she would whimper and cling to me with an amazingly strong death-grip), but now she just giggled the whole time! After our shower we have to wait until the other classes are done and then we get to go in the main pool! Emma walks in the water or sometimes I'll put her on her belly and "moter boat" her in the water to where our class meets. Our class supposedly consists of about 15-20 parent-tot groups but this week there were significantly less groups that showed up than last time. Once we're all in the water we do some action songs, like the Hokey-Pokey, and Along Came Herman the Worm and some more that I can't remember right now. Some of the actions that the kids do in these songs include floating on their bellies, floating on their backs and jumping in and out of the water, putting their ears and eyes in the water and blowing bubbles! Emma used to absolutely panic whenever water touched her ears but now she just giggles! It's so great! Last week Emma pretty much just clung to me the entire time, save for a few minutes with the slide. This week, she was fighting me to get out of my arms, even where the water was deeper than she was tall! One of the funniest parts of the lesson last week was when the instructor put a bunch of rings on the floor of the pool in a spot that was about as deep as Emma's mid-thigh. Emma got all excited and went to reach for it and before I could even warn her, she plunged her face into the water, quickly pulled herself out with a look of total shock and dismay on her face and then promptly began to cough and cry. This week I've been working on getting her to keep her mouth closed before she reaches for the rings, but this lesson will take a little while yet as she will close her mouth and then just when she's about to get the ring and put her face in the water, she goes "HA HAAAA!"Another part of the lesson gives us some time to go to the edges of pool and get our kids to jump from the wall of the pool into the water. Last week, I would grab Emma in the arm pits and jump her into the water. This week I only held her hands for the first two jumps and then I didn't hold her at all and asked her to jump to me and she did, with very little hesitation I might add! Then she did it again, and again, and her jumps got bigger and bigger each time! It's so exciting to see how quickly she has become more confident and comfortable in the water!

I was talking with another dad that was there with his 16-month old daughter and he was saying that this was his daughter's second time in the lessons and that his wife had taken her last season. So I've been talking to Karla and we're seriously considering doing another set of classes after this one. Emma really enjoys them and it's a great chance for some Daddy-Emma time, and it's really cheap at only 53$ for both of us for six weeks! Karla also suggested that we should look and see if Emma and Caitlyn could be in the same class and then Steffan, Caitlyn, Emma and I could all go together! That'd be a lot of fun for everyone, I think!

Next Saturday, Karla is hopefully going to come to the lessons to take some pictures and then I'll be posting them as soon as possible for all of you!

My one complaint about the swimming lessons, is about the family bathrooms. Their purpose is to provide a space that is suitable for families with small children. This way parents can go in with their babies and small kids and change in the stalls provided. The first problem is that the space is way too small. The boys change-room in comparison to the family change-room is a bit more than twice as big. Also in the family change-room there are only 3 stalls for families to change in. To give you some perspective, when I used the family change-room the first week, there were probably a dozen or so families trying to get all of their members dressed and ready. Also there is only one change-table! What's with that? A family change-room that had at least a dozen babies in it after one set of lessons, and there's only space provided to change one baby's diaper at a time? You have got to be kidding me! So after that week, I vowed to try the guys change-room thinking that it definitely couldn't be worse. This week, there were maybe 3-5 other men in the room with their little kids. There was so much more space and even more showers! It was a much more pleasant experience! All of this begs the question, why? Why should the family change-room be so poorly equipped and sized when it is safe to assume that families take longer to get ready, need more space and have more people? All of the other parents that I talked to who used that family change-room had the same complaints as me and a lot of them have decided to use either the men's or the women's change-room. Eventually wouldn't this family change-room become obsolete? So what's the point of having a "family" change-room if it only discourages families from using it? The only problem with using the guys change-room is that there is no change-table at all! But I guess when you consider that I would have to wait in a long line for the one table that they do have, it's not really worth complaining about, so I'll just bring a change-pad for Emma and change her on the bench. So from now on I will be frequenting the guys change-room and will continue to have a peaceful time getting ready for lessons and getting changed afterwards.

All in all though, I'm really excited to be doing these lessons with Emma and she loves them a lot too! I always find myself looking forward to Saturday mornings, despite how cold they've been as of late! I'll keep you up to date with more of Emma's progress throughout the next 4 weeks, and hopefully with pictures in the next week or so!