Mama's Little Starfish

I took W to his first swimming class this evening, and he did very well. He even learned a new skill! This was something that hadn't occurred to me to teach him, since we spent the summer in either the lake or shallow wading pools; he clung to the edge of the pool by himself!

The lessons are in a brand-new facility in Charlottesville, not yet open to the public. They still haven't worked out all the new-construction kinks, so we had to have class in a 4' section of a deeper pool instead of 3.5' pool because the water was too cold in the shallower pool. The water was 83F, which was cool but fine for me, and the air temperature in the room was pretty darn warm. W was fine the whole time in the pool, he only got cold when we got out and into the locker room (where the air temperature was much colder, brr!).

I signed W up for the "Starfish II" level of class, since it looked like Starfish I was for kids who didn't really like being in the water. But W's quite comfortable, and this class does seem like it will be a good fit. The instructor kept things moving, and I learned a way to hold W that helped him not to freak out when he was floating on his back. He still wasn't what I would call relaxed while floating on his back, but he wasn't quite as tense as he was when I tried it with him this summer. He could do everything instructed, except blow bubbles in the water.

But W hasn't quite figured out how to blow consistently, even without water involved. There is an exercise in yoga class where the kids are supposed to blow a feather, and he did it once, but I haven't really noticed him doing it right since then, and he doesn't even quite know to blow on his food to cool it down, even through T and I demonstrate for him all the time. I might try to focus on teaching him to blow during the week, so he'll be able to participate more in class. But he participates pretty well in his swim class, more so than in yoga, I think. Of course, a lot of this class is passive for him-- I'm moving him around through the water, he doesn't have to take the initiative much, just hang on and enjoy the ride.

I was glad that W did enjoy the swim activities-- I was a little worried beforehand that something unforeseen might set him off, but he didn't cry at all, and only grimaced a few times. Most of the time he was either neutral or smiling. I think he liked the "pop goes the weasel" activity best-- we just bounce the kids around in the water while singing and then throw them way up in the air on the "pop". He likes getting thrown in the air, but most kids like that, don't they?

This is what I consider a high-intensity toddler class, since it meets twice per week. But it's only 30 minutes, so maybe that's why. The kids can't have a longer class since they'd get too cold, even with the heated pool. We go back on Wednesday, and I'm looking forward to it.