Yes, indeed. We have spent a lot of time in the water this summer, compared to previous ones.
While at the beach, the kids practically lived in the pool. My Dad said we had all spent more time at the pool in that one week than in all the time over the past 10 years put together. :)
We returned from the beach to have two weeks of private swimming lessons. I discovered after one attempt with Hadleigh a few years ago, that group lessons were not her thing.
And then I found our swim teachers last summer. Two sisters (both of whom swim at the collegiate level) who have taught lessons each summer for many years. They have a perfect blend of gentleness, fun, and firmness...which I think is essential in teaching young children to swim. My kiddos adore them.
The home where they teach is in the country and is just gorgeous. I always try to get early morning lessons (this year was 8:30-9:30am) so that it is cooler (for me), there is no need for sunscreen yet (given the shade of our location), and the day gets started immediately!
Last year, Hadleigh & Nathanael were a bit reluctant (to say the least) to do anything other than go after rings...always keeping a watchful eye on the steps.
But this year? We had no tears. In fact, on our one day that we had to reschedule for rain, a couple kiddos cried because we weren't going to go. Wow.
My little guy still loves getting the rings best...but he has also mastered a pretty good backfloat...and can swim wherever he needs to get to...using a cross between a dog-paddle and breast stroke.
Madeleine pretty much looked like this for two weeks. All smiles in the pool. She LOVES it. She jumps in and immediately turns to float on her back...forever. She treads water like a pro...and is starting to get the hang of swimming.
My only fear with her (as evidenced above) is her lack of caution that her older siblings have in spades. The other two would have to know exactly who was going to be near to catch them...but she has no problem jumping in without telling anyone or needing someone there. Thankfully she treads water or flips to her back...but I must admit, she makes me a bit nervous.
And this picture just makes my heart burst. After wondering at age three (and then four, five, six...) if Hadleigh would ever swim (I know, I know...) she just took off this summer. I love seeing her begin to learn and use different strokes. She worked on the front crawl and backstroke...but when swimming for fun, usually propels herself underwater with a breaststroke...just like her mom. She asks to go to the pool every day. :)
And what would swimming lessons be without sweet treats afterwards?