When we started swim lessons back in June, Conner could swim okay, but I certainly would never just turn him loose in the deep end of a pool. Micah could get around all over the place with his puddle jumpers life jacket on, but don't you even think about getting his face a little bit wet. And Joey didn't really want to get in the water at all.
Then we spent a day swimming at the BRiCk, with Joey in his puddle jumper. Apparently, he learned to trust it during those couple of hours, as he played around in the (to him) waist deep water. Because the next day when we got into Mrs. Debbie's pool, Joey spent an entire hour jumping in, popping up out of the water with a huge smile on his face, swimming to the steps (kicking his feet and moving his arms like he was learning in swim lessons), climbing out, and doing it all over again. And over and over and over and over again. He slept good that night (and more than filled up his pull-up - he must have drinken about a gallon of water everytime he jumped in!) The transformation in a day was just incredible. Since then he's slowed down on the jumping in over and over again...but he's definitely mastered swimming with his puddle jumper on. I don't worry about him much as long as he's wearing it. He's had lots and lots of fun in the pool this summer, and it's been nice to not have to worry about him so much.
Conner learned a little bit in his swim lessons, but really more than anything, I think it's all the practice he's gotten this summer that has helped him improve. Nowadays we don't see his head in the pool a whole lot, instead we see his feet as he's going under to get his diving toys. I don't worry about him just a whole lot, either. He swims all over the pool, even in the deep end, and does great. I wouldn't turn him loose in a big public pool yet, I'm not real sure about his endurance (or common sense on knowing when he's tired and needs to take a break), but in Mrs. Debbie's backyard pool he's become quite the little fish.
We hadn't seen much change in Micah though...until yesterday. He asked for a pair of goggles and suddenly began trying to look underwater. He quickly became frustrated though, because he kept getting water in his nose. So I showed him how to hold his nose...and suddenly he was swimming all around Mrs. Debbie's little hot tub - but he didn't know it. And there was no convincing him of it. :)
Still, his confidence was increasing, and he asked if he could play on the steps in the big pool. We said sure, and knowing how quickly the water begins to get deep, let him play but watched him very closely. And sure enough, he got busy looking at the floor of the pool, lost track of where he was, and suddenly couldn't touch the bottom any more. He panicked, began kicking his feet and waving his hands, and before I could get to him, he had swam his little self to the side. It was thrilling and scary all at the same time. And the great thing was, after he had a minute to calm himself down and realized what had happened, he was convinced that he could swim, too!
It takes a few minutes of playing around in the smaller hot tub each time, but eventually Micah builds his confidence back up, and will swim to Bret or to the wall of the pool now days. We knew he could do it all summer, we were just patiently waiting for him to convince himself of that. Once again, the transformation has been pretty incredible. And, as if we needed to add any other skills learned to this already impressive set, there's still another. Uncle Adam swam with us a couple of weeks ago...and he and Daddy introduced the boys to chicken fighting. Great. It makes mom a little nervous...but they had a great time. It is such a joy to be able to watch these boys grow up and get strong and learn. It's been a long and hard summer, but I'm thankful that I got to spend so much time with them and doing just that. I was amazed at how much the boys learned in swim lessons and in the pool last year, and barely dared to hope to get the same results. Now, after another amazing summer, I think I'm gonna dare to hope the same for next year. Conner, Micah, and Josiah, I am so proud of you!