Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Swimming Lessons!

This week we started swimming lessons! 
I have been looking foward/dreading starting them because I thought Ty would literally kick/scream/cry/melt down- you name it. Ever since he was about 18 months old (looking back, about the time his autism started manifesting itself) he has HATED the water. Pools, splash pads, water parks- would NOT tolerate them. He had major meltdowns and we'd end up leaving wherever we were at, sad, frustrated, disappointed and embarrassed. 

It's been something I've worried and felt bad about ever since and have wondered what can I do to help him over come this fear or sensory issue???? What little kid doesn't even like a splash pad???? Growing up in Southern Arizona, I really believe pool safety is a must. My kids will have no choice but to know how to swim. I'm not saying they have to love it, like I did, but they will NOT die by drowning and from something sooo preventable. :)

It's been really hard for me (I know it sounds dumb but it's true!), especially when we got a season pass to Seven Peaks last summer because I LOVE water. I literally grew up in it. I swam competitively, starting at age 8 until in my 20's, swam in college and got an offer for a swimming scholarship to Colorado (I didn't take it- that's another story). We also had a pool in our back yard all growing up. During the summer we had swim practice at 6 am, would come home and practice the piano and do chores, then continue to swim outside in our own pool for hours, and then go back in the evening for more swim team practice. Weekends were filled with swim meets. Often times by the time it was bedtime, my swim suit was dry so I'd just sleep in it. I took more showers at the pool showers in my suit than at home. So, needless to say, swimming was a major part of my life. I want my kids to experience the FUN that comes with being pool safe and enjoying the water.

Levi under water!

I knew that regular county swim lessons would not cut it. Ty needed something more one on one and someone used to teaching special needs kids. I talked to a few moms at Ty's preschool and I got the info for Pam Young who specializes in exactly what we needed for Ty. I called right away and got on the waiting list. It took 3 months to get it- that's how much in demand she and her daughter, Mindie, are. It's only been two days but I am already soooooo glad we are doing this!!! It's amazing! I figured since Ty and Levi do everything together, why not put Levi in lessons too. 

Pam and Mindie specialize in teaching 9 month old+ kids survival swimming, meaning if they fell into the pool, they could flip to their backs and kick to the side of the pool. This also prepares them for when they start learning strokes, they know to turn to their backs if they need to rest and preps for side breathing, like with free style.

I prepared myself for Ty having HUGE meltdowns and screaming the whole time. I knew it was going to be awful and that he would hate it. I thought Levi would be the opposite and like it once he got used to it. Well, I'm so surprised and happy to say that Ty has done ten times better than I thought he would!!! I'm actually SHOCKED by it. 

Mindie is so good with these guys- she'll give them a snuggle after dunking them under the water. :)

Ty still cries a little during it but gets in just fine and looks forward to it during the day and talks about how he "turns to his back" and "swims in water." He's already catching on soooo well and even turned to his back all by himself today. I'm so proud of him!! 

Levi is definitely more sad about it during his lesson, which surprised me. Levi has no fear and loves water. So I really think these lessons are so good for both of them. 

The lessons are only 10 minutes long for 4 days a week. At first I thought 10 min seemed so short but now I can see how that's perfect amount of time without getting too tired and watching for 10 minutes while your child is crying the whole time (Levi) seems very long! :) These guys are sooo good at what they do- they have it down to an art. 

Levi's current DVD that he carries around this week is The Incredibles. :) He clings to Dad after his lesson since Mom made him get in the water in the first place. 

You can see Ty turning over to his back. It's awesome!!

Afterwards they get a stamp on their hand for doing so good. The boys are so proud of their smiley face hand stamps. Levi keeps kissing his. 

What's funny is that our first day there, I thought the house that the pool is at looks so familiar. It ends up that the pool is Heath Westfall's, who I grew up with since I was 4 years old (he married into money :) and so it was fun to see him again and say hi. Who would've thought during all those years of early morning seminary and hanging out on weekends that years later I'd bring my kids to his house in Utah for swimming lessons? It's always a small world. 

Also, a little side note- last night Ty slept in his own bed ALL NIGHT LONG! He didn't wake up once! Yay for Ty and Mom and Dad!!! :)

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