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Swimming lessons!

This week, the kids had the opportunity to take swimming lessons from a young man we know from church who is working to earn money this summer to go towards paying for his mission this fall. Swimming lessons in Arizona really stink when you're the mom that sits out in the 105+ degree heat for 90 minutes but thankfully it was at a friend's house and there was shade. I've never seen kids more excited to do swimming lessons! I feel kind of bad that we've mostly skipped out on the swimming lessons but it was just more than I could handle when they were younger and Raya was a baby and my life revolved around her appointment schedule and keeping her healthy. (and minimizing the amount of public vomit)

Anywhoo, fast forward to 2014 and I have a couple of kids who are decent enough swimmers that I'm not afraid to turn them loose at the neighborhood pool but also need swimming lessons and are too old for their skill level at the town pools, one that desperately wants to be allowed to swim without a floaty vest since her friends don't have to wear one (their moms also don't have 5 kids to watch simultaneously...), and one kid who has no sense of danger and chokes on drinking water, let alone pool water. So yeah, we needed help.

Raya and Kaida and another little kiddo had the first lesson. I have never seen a kid more excited to do swimming lessons than Kaida. She would probably swim better if she could wipe the giant grin off her face. :) She has caught on to everything really quickly, is eager to learn more, and does everything they tell her to do. She loves every second of it! Raya, on the other hand, is happy to be in the pool but in true Raya fashion, wants to be doing what SHE wants to do and doesn't really care to pay much attention to the teachers. Her attention span is short out of the water but shorter in the water. We have always had to be careful with her in the pool because if her face ever went in the water, she inhaled it. We tried to teach her to blow bubbles in the pool before but she didn't really catch on and has never learned to hold her breath. Maybe I should have given them a little bit of background on her, but I opted not to. I decided to just warn them to watch out for her tube but other than that, I just threw caution to the wind and let them handle her.

On the first day. they were kind of assessing where the kids were at skill-wise and tried to get them to go down to the bottom and pick up a dive ring. Kaida needed help getting her skinny little body to the bottom but she held her breath without a problem and grabbed the ring. The little boy in their class was able to get it too. Then it was Raya's turn. Bless her heart, she freaked out when he told her she was going to go under the water and had no idea how to hold her breath. Within a couple minutes of working with her though, he was able to get her to put her face in the water and grab the ring that he was holding just under the surface, so we called it a win. And oh, was she ever proud of herself!

Then it was time to show the teachers how well they could kick. Kaida did great, other than needing to keep her legs straighter!

When it was Raya's turn, she demonstrated her unique talent for clinging to the teacher with both her hands AND her legs. I did not know she could bend that way and I think he was a little confused at first as to who or what was wrapped around his arm. Overall, I considered it a pretty successful first day.

Cole and Ashtyn were in a class with our friend and another boy. Every time my kids go swimming with other kids, I realize once again how very skinny and pale our kids are. Really. You'd never guess they eat as much as they do. Anyway, they did pretty good on their first day too. They are functional swimmers, meaning they can get from point A to point B, but it ain't pretty and it's very inefficient. Hopefully they'll improve their strokes and learn how to move and breathe correctly.

The second day was quite possibly more entertaining than the first day with Raya. Tuesdays are always kind of long and exhausting for me, and I had gone to bed with a headache Monday night and still had it when I woke up Tuesday so I was ready to turn the kids loose at swimming lessons by the time 5:00 rolled around. Raya was making me laugh all the way through it though. I know that "manipulative" is not the word I'm looking for but that girl can talk her way out of just about anything. Or at least she tries. That's what she did all the way through her lesson on Tuesday. Every time Robbie asked her to do something, she would try to negotiate it down to something she was more comfortable with. He said, "Raya, jump off the step and swim to me" and her response was a very matter-of-fact, "Um, I need you to move a little closer." Not, "Oh please don't make me do that! I'm scared! You're too far away!" but just a very calm and cool, "Um, I need you to move a little closer." Thankfully he's not a pushover and he stayed put and she still jumped to him.

I can't remember what she was saying to him in this picture but probably something along the lines of, "You're going to hold onto me the whole time, right?"
And by that, she meant something along the lines of, "If you don't hold onto me or if I feel like you're not holding on tight enough, I will flip my legs around behind me and wrap them around your arm so tight you won't know what hit you."

The big kids have made huge strides in their understanding of the mechanics of swimming and Kaida is just soaking it all up as fast as the teachers can teach it to her. Raya is MUCH less afraid of the water, which I have mixed feelings about, and even in 3 days' time, she is doing a lot better with not choking on water every time she gets her face in it. AND she's actually putting her face in the water. I'm not sure how many weeks we'll keep doing swimming lessons but I am really liking being able to take them somewhere during the crazy hours of the evening and turning them over to somebody else!


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