Thursday, July 22, 2010


E loves the pool. We'd spend more time at our local pool, but it's really difficult to coordinate getting home from work, cooking and serving dinner, eating, and then bathtime, stretches, and bedtime ritual without the swimming stuffed in there somewhere.

Well, today we did it! And it was fantastic, b/c we got to see a lot of our neighbors. What a great time!

I also brought a new thing to the pool tonight; Elena's swim vest. I confess, I'm not a big fan. I figure that it would be better for kids to learn to swim without one, as to have a healthy respect for the water and realize the danger and then conquer it without having a swim vest or arm floaties. And, more importantly, I tried a swim vest before on Elena--and was surprised, when wearing the vest, that she could not right herself in the water. I didn't want her to get a false sense of security while wearing the swim vest--and that goes for any adult working with her, too.

WELL. While I still feel residual anti-swim vest sentiments, I admit I am a changed woman.

ELENA SWAM BY HERSELF. While wearing the vest, of course. I was shocked!! We started out by just having her try to stay upright with me letting go: 4 seconds before her face was in the water and she was as stiff as a board. Later, after being at the pool for an hour, we worked on her doggie paddle. We do this every time in the pool--I remind her of her 'fish hands' (closed fingers) and to 'kick her legs', which she does reciprocally, as if she were crawling (we have not mastered a "straight-leg kick", from the hip). I pinched the back of the vest to keep her from tipping.

Then I let go--and she kept on going! Not fast, but as long as she moved her arms and legs, she didn't tip. The message started to sink in--that when she straightens her legs like immobile toothpicks (and her arms fold into her torso), she loses her balance and her ability to swim. Wow. Just WOW. Her muscle recruitment to balance herself in the water was really remarkable tonight--I need to get her in the pool more often!!

She made it 5 feet or so, swimming by herself, from the middle of the pool to the edge and then got her hands on the lip of the pool. Several times, too. Lots of times she tipped over, but we just started again--E laughing the whole time. Both of us were SO PROUD!


Meadow said...

Amazing! She is such a rock star! I think swimming is such an amazing opportunity for our kids to have their bodies move so differently in space. I wish we could do more, too. Peyton gets weekly pool therapy in the summer and our PT wants us to start a "home" regimen in a pool.

I plan to buy a square floaty thing with holes--about 4x4 feet--which they use in PT to have the kids balance on. So they can do a lot of the stuff they do on land but with a much less stable platform beneath them. I can send you the link for the product if you'd like it. I don't have it in front of me now or I'd leave it here.

I'm so proud of Elena for this independent swimming! Great job!!

twinmama said...

Awesome! I am waiting for the day when H can swim on her own as well. Your pointers about the doggie paddle, keeping legs moving, etc. were well taken. Hopefully at some point it all just "clicks" like it did for E. How fun and therapeutic at the same time-don't we just love those "more bang for your buck" moments?LOL!

twinmama said...

So wonderful! I'm sure she (and you) were both totally psyched. I'm waiting for the time when H can do this as well. She's trying so hard but like E, she gets so stiff because she's so excited. Your pointers about the doggie paddle, keeping the legs moving, etc are well taken. Hopefully we'll keep reminding H of those and eventually it will just click for her as well. Go E Go! Love the beach walker btw...we took H's walker to the beach this weekend and now her wheels are totally jammed because of the sand and we need to order new ones. We thought if we hosed it off, it would be ok. We're not beach-bound again this year, but next year I think it will be totally worth it to make one of these for her. You need to work for a DME company!