We started POD swimming when she was just six months old. She took to it like a duck to water and for several months she loved it. She even seemed to enjoy being under the water. A break (literally in my case!) changed all that and it was quite a few months before we returned to the thalassotherapy pool.
A new course teacher believed POD would be fine to pick up where she left off despite the absence. But she developed ‘the fear’ in her first lesson. We persevered for a few weeks but POD was terrified even before she entered the pool. Once in she continued to cling to the POD Father like a limpet and her screams became more intense. We were told to persevere so we did but each week was the same.
Rather than commit to a similar course, a while later we took POD to the local swimming pool. There was a toddler session on each week and although nervous at first, POD enjoyed it. It was like a play park in water complete with a pirate ship and flumes – the latter being a personal favourite with the POD Father.
Once she’d become used to the environment, we signed her up for swimming lessons at the same complex. POD did these on her own with a group of other children while we watched from the gallery above. They taught the children to swim using floats. She missed a three weeks when she had an accident at pre-school and cut her eyelid. She was thrilled to go back but found the other children had overtaken her. Although some were older and already water confident, all were jumping in the pool. From having fun, POD suddenly didn’t want to go any more – she was scared her head might go under the water. Although she did go a few more times, fear reared its head again and we didn’t want to force her to go.
POD was convinced her head was going to go under the water when we holidayed in Greece with Mark Warner. Although we were always with her in the pool, we bought some armbands and, as a back-up, a rubber ring to keep her safe. Even with both on, she still believed she’d go under water. It took both of us letting go for her to realise she’d float.
As well as spending time with us in the pool, she attended Mini Club for a few hours each morning while we played tennis. This childcare option (for 3 to 5 year olds) is a mix of both indoor and outdoor activities such as sailing. The latter saw her wear a Konfidence jacket in the pool which she absolutely loved. The combination of these floatation aids made a huge difference to POD and there was a notable improvement in her water confidence.
Last week we were in Corsica with Mark Warner. Her outdoor exploits with Mini Club saw her back in a Konfidence jacket and with us she donned the armbands and rubber ring she had in Greece. Personally I’ve never been a fan of rubber rings but POD has been loathe to go in the pool without it. Thankfully though she kept her armbands firmly in place.
There was lots of fun to be had in the pool and POD had the most wonderful time with all the other children – providing she didn’t get splashed in the face! Many were much more confident than her in the water with several already swimming under the water.
POD was happy just to float about and play with the toys in the pool. You could sense she wanted to be more involved but she refused to take off her rubber ring which made showing her how to swim quite hard.
On the last day of the holiday there was much fooling around in the pool. POD was being pulled around by her rubber ring which she found highly entertaining and then other children asked to borrow it. Finally it was off! She knows she needs to kick her legs but up to this point, she’s not really known what to do with her arms. With no rubber ring in sight she was able to give it a go – with goggles obviously! The pool was especially shallow so she walked a fair amount but then something amazing happened.
She swam from the middle of the pool to the side all on her own! I only caught the last 4 seconds as I was too busy watching but this is the best bit of video footage. Ever.
Given how terrified she once was, words cannot express how proud we are of her. She swam all by herself! Yes she was wearing armbands but she has to start somewhere and that expression is priceless!
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