Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Best Part of Summer

Posted by Mandy at 9:06 AM
Hands down - it's going to the pool. Since I was a small child I have looked forward to swimming as the main attraction of summertime. I have been very happy that my first two children love the water, but imagine my shock with kid #3.

It isn't that he doesn't like going to the pool. It isn't that he doesn't enjoy the water. It's that he is terrified if he is more than knee deep in the water. Even with a life jacket on... plus a floaty.. plus Mommy holding him. He went as far as to sit out of the pool this week with his lafe jacket and floaty on... just resting on my towel. My friend Lou said, "Well, I guess you can never be too safe!" You just have to laugh about it!

this is his maximum acceptable depth

Madison in the pink life jacket - Carter in the blue one on the right

As you might realize, Samuel isn't the only fearful one in the water - I'm pretty paranoid as well. Madison is turning nine tomorrow and I still make her wear her life jacket. She can sort of swim, but definitely not very well. (I told her that our main goal for this summer is for her to be a much stronger swimmer by the end!) Carter took swimming lessons last year, but didn't learn much at all so he is 100% in the jacket. I'll let Madison take hers off to work on strokes, but Carter can only take his off if he's near me.

We go to the pool 2-3 times a week so I hope that they will both be able to swim pretty well with all of this exposure and time to work on it. My goal for Samuel... well... maybe he'll at least enjoy going waist deep in the next few months.

We're picking up Emily today and she'll be staying for about two weeks, and I've been told that she can't swim either. Looks like we'll be needing another life jacket!


Allison C on Wednesday, 16 June, 2010 said...

She will never become a good/strong swimmer with that vest.

You are a obviously a great parent, but 9 and in a life jacket in a pool does seem a little over the top to me. I say this with love. She sounds like a physically active kid from you posts and if she likes the water and can hold her breath under it, let her loose. She'll never learn to really swim and enjoy the water with the vest. Letting her get comfortable and used to being without it could help her react well in case she accidentally ends up in water, sans a floatation device. It will help her be more confident and safer in any water.

Part of my concern also comes from having a HS friend who was never in the water without a vest until 16 years old when we told her it was time to learn to swim. Even in shallow (waist high on her) water with a noodle and us, she managed to swallow a lot of water in a panic. She was so used to having a vest that she was an accident waiting to happen in water.

I know I don't have kids but I did babysit a lot and we spent many days at the pool with several kids, 6 and under. If they like the water, I let them go floaty free while I was around and we never had a problem. There was a 4 year old about like Samuel, though, and it was so sad to see his fear of the water while the others were having so much fun.

Good luck!

Mandy on Wednesday, 16 June, 2010 said...

Allison - she gets lots of time without the vest to pract. swimming, but with me being the only person responcible for my three kids.. and none of them can swim.. is too risky to let her go 100% without the vest. She'd have to stay where she could touch the entire time and she'd hate that. lol My goal is for her to not need it at all in the next month or so.. but for now, she's got to wear it for her safety. If I trusted the 16yr old lifeguards to really watch my child (b/c there is no way possible for me to watch them that closely on my own) I'd probably be more able to let her go a bit more.

Ann on Wednesday, 16 June, 2010 said...

Mandy, you're not alone! It's terrifying to me to think of taking all three kids to the pool by myself unless they're in some sort of float or life vest. We work with them to teach them how to swim, but when we have to have our attention more solidly with one of the other kids, they cannot be without that safety net. We actually never had regular access to a pool until Olivia was eight, and she struggles with coordination anyway. So, yes, she will wear a float until we can really get her swimming. It's less a matter of age and more a matter of skill, and when you haven't been able to teach them a skill for whatever reason, safety measures are necessary.

Meanwhile, Angie and Steven were both just like Samuel. In fact, up until they were about three neither of them even wanted to be in a kiddie pool! Is that not crazy? Angie has pretty much outgrown it and loves the water now (and I think will be my best swimmer when all is said and done), but we're still working on Steven. He has good days and not so good days. We actually did get him floating around on his own some days last summer. We'll see how this summer goes!

Allison C on Wednesday, 16 June, 2010 said...

Maybe it's good that I don't want kids :)

By Madison's age we were definitely turned loose at Eden Park (do you know that huge pool?). The tower, the slides, the "current". I was a fish kid, though. Too shy for swim lessons so I just learned on my own. Once I could hold my breath (four or five), I started practicing in the shallow water so I could stand up or crawl up the bars if I needed. I actually got good at swimming by starting out under water.

You'll probably be horrified to know that we were also free to swim without floaties in the gulf (Florida and Texas beaches) and the White River by 7 or 8.

Swimming in warm, outside water is what I miss the most up here in NY. Even if there were outdoor pools here (or more than one or two), it's only been warm enough to swim a few days.

Maury on Wednesday, 16 June, 2010 said...

I have to say that I have never been very comfortable with water. That is learned behavior from my side of the family. :) But I married a man that spend his whole childhood at the pool every single day, and his whole highschool career as a life naturally, he is totally laid back with the kids and water. When we moved to LR, we lived in an apartment, and he took them to the pool everyday. Noah is a natural, and just began swimming...the girls are more uncoordinated like me, but aren't scared of water at all.

I hate Wild River Country....hate it. It terrifies me. Not just for me, but I can't watch my kids do any of the things there. The last time we went I kept repeating, "this is torture....can we leave now?" haha...Clay took them Sunday, and I literally wanted to puke while they were telling me stories of the wave pool and about almost flipping off the 4 person raft...and Clay just kept laughing....saying that is the reason I was left at home!

The city pool is hard b/c there are so many kids, and it seems like the lifeguards can't possibly notice everyone.

Mandy on Thursday, 17 June, 2010 said...

Clayton and I are both great swimmers and probably have been since we were VERY young. I know that we spent every summer at the pool from the time I was probably a toddler, though. (I was the youngest in the family) where as with us having had a baby every 3yrs.. it hasn't been possible -or enjoyable I should say- to spend much time at the pool until this summer. The reason mine can't swim (in spite of lessons every single summer) is b/c of lack of exposure! That's why this summer I vowed we'd be at the pool if it was open! lol I do think it is extremely important for everyone to know how to swim, and swim well - I might have a big challenge ahead of me..

Anonymous said...

My kids (2 & 5) have never worn floaties or life jackets at the pool or lake! My mom gets very nervous when she's around. But they've both been in the water on a regular basis since they were about 2 months old (year round @ the YMCA) and they are both very good at staying where they can touch unless dh or I are with them.

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