Friday, February 8, 2013

Brady the Fish

It's very snowy outside and area schools are cancelled, which meant that Brady's swim lesson this morning was also cancelled.  That gave me the perfect opportunity to sit down and write about his swimming.  I was in the water as a baby and that progressed into my swimming competitively, so getting Brady swimming was high on my priority list (and will be for all of our other children).  He has pretty much taken to it like a natural, where other kids or babies are very scared to be in the water.

Brady's first pool experience in May 2010 (3 months old), in his cousins' pool.

Chillin floating on the water in June 2010 (4 months old).

Cooling off in the pool during our Myrtle Beach vacation in June 2010 (4 months old).

Most swim centers don't start lessons until babies are six months old.  We moved to Michigan the first time right around then, so I started searching for a place he could take lessons.  I found a great local place that started in Michigan, but is expanding to other states (one will even be opening soon in Pittsburgh).  It's called the Goldfish Swim School.  We took a trial class and I was sold.  The conditioned the babies to keep their mouths closed under water, to kick and scoop, and even climb out of the pool.  Sadly, we stopped lessons there when Brady was ten months old as we were headed South.

We kept pretty busy in our first few months in South Carolina, so I wasn't able to search a place to take Brady for swim lessons.  We went to Disney when Brady was 15 months old (five months since his last lesson) and while in the pool at the resort, he was automatically doing all the things he'd learned in his lessons (pictured above).  I knew right then that we had to get him back into swim lessons.

Around that same time, we'd joined the YMCA down the street from our house and they offered swim lessons.  They weren't up to par with what we'd had at the Goldfish Swim School, but it was better than nothing.  They also had an outdoor pool with a great play area for kids, which Brady loved (pictured above).

Brady continued to take swim lessons at the YMCA from June to December 2011 in South Carolina.  He even started to wear goggles which was so cute.  By 18 months, he was able to swim underwater to me.  He was still working on moving his arms enough to keep his head above water.  He was fearless when it came to jumping off the side of the pool into the water without me catching him.  He loved going to the pool and was always disappointed when we went to the YMCA for another reason.

Going to Germany threw the ultimate monkey wrench into Brady's swim training.  It took me a long time to find a public pool, and because we had to walk everywhere, we had to wait until the weather was nice.  I finally got him to the pool in April, but it was too late.  He was clingy and scared.  I was shocked because he'd gone five months without a pool when he was 1 and had no problems going right back into it like he'd never stopped.

When we got back to the States, Andy was renting an apartment with another Bosch employee and their complex had a pool.  One weekend Brady and I were visiting, so we decided to go to the pool as a family.  Brady was again terrified (but this time I wasn't surprised).  We went to the beach in August and he was scared to let go of us in the water even with his lifevest on.  He didn't even remember that he was supposed to keep his mouth closed and threw up quite a bit of sea water.

I knew that as soon as we were settled, he needed to be in lessons again, but I was scared he was going to scream the whole time.  I signed him up for classes at the local community center, but chose one a bit under his age group because I had no idea how he'd react.  It took a while, but he finally got the hang of it again.  After the first session, I moved him up to the one more for his age group.  It was more independent, which he liked a lot (the younger class provoked a lot of screaming from him as he wanted to do things by himself).  He took one session of the higher level in the fall and is currently in another session now.  We have to take a break due to Izzie B's arrival soon, but he will likely start up again in the late spring.

Andy had a Monday off before Christmas, so he was able to come watch Brady in action.  They start the class in the shallow end and have the kids get themselves wet and practice kicks and bubbles (as you can see Brady doing above).

So happy to be in the water.

Practicing back floats

Putting on a floating backpack so he can swim without my support.

I was so glad when he started swimming underwater again.  I was also bummed that we'd almost backtracked a full year with the move to Germany.  He loves to swim from the wall to me and back again.

A shot of him swimming underwater to me.

Practicing safety jumps

Since he has hardly any body fat, his lips turn blue and he starts shaking the minute he walks out of the water.  I wrap him up like a burrito to get him into the locker room.

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