When your Puddle Ducks lesson ends in tears

Amy has been swimming with Puddle Ducks for around 18 months now and we’ve documented her journey every step of the way – from the first lessons where she cried and clung to me like a limpet, through highs of learning new skills and the lows of water wobbles.  Over that time Amy has come so far and we both really enjoy our Monday morning swimming lessons with Claire.  It’s our special time together.

Today’s lesson ended in tears . . . happy ones.  I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing from my little girl and I cried.

As you know Amy has been having some catch up lessons with Daddy alongside her normal lessons with me and Claire – and I think today we saw the reward.  Claire and I have both noticed over the last couple of weeks that Amy has been getting braver – she’s been messing about a bit more in the water – which I suppose under normal circumstances would make me a bit cross but I’ve been loving it because I can see a change in her confidence.

Last week we had a great lesson – full of Amy’s favourite things.  She loves to swim on her back and is always super relaxed, we had reached a point where she was swimming with her woggle under her back and I was literally just touching her head (rather than holding it) so she knew I was there.  However, she had promised me that this week she’d try it by herself as long as I held my hands right next to her to catch her if she wobbled.

Well, from the start of this morning’s lesson Amy was full of beans.  We were a few minutes late and missed the welcome song so we were straight into our first task – pushing off from the wall, swimming with a woggle under each arm.  Although I’ve known for quite some time that she could do this independently if she was brave enough, she has insisted that I hold on – we’d progressed to me literally touching her woggles with one finger.  Today, I didn’t touch her woggles AT ALL.  She just swam.  By herself.  All the way across the pool.  Not just once but backwards and forwards across the pool, swimming and laughing.  BY HERSELF.  Claire and I kept exchanging looks of disbelief.

This new found confidence extended to her jumping in from the float without a fuss, she didn’t care that I’d stood a bit further away from usual, then she swam on one woggle BY HERSELF!  She thought it was all hilarious and was clearly just as proud of herself as we were.

But, the piece de resistance, and the bit which reduced me to tears, was during the song at the end when she shouted at Claire – “I want to go under! Claire, put me under!”  . . . I literally couldn’t believe my ears.  Of course Claire obliged and my little dipper swam under the water and came up beaming!  Underwater swims have been our nemesis for some time.  She’s done it occasionally with much encouragement and then not wanted to do it again but today, to actually shout at Claire that she wanted to do it – well that wasn’t something I ever thought we’d see!

My little lady was clearly buzzing at the end of her lesson and was super excited to ring Daddy at work and tell him how well she’d done.  It was like someone flicked a switch in her head and she realised she could do it.  All our efforts paid off at once!  Of course both Claire and I know that there is no guarantee of a repeat performance next week, but still.  What a lesson.  I’m so excited to see how far she comes now that she’s realised what she can actually do!

Puddle Ducks at Aqua Nurture, Gee Cross

Mummy & Amy in the pool at Aqua Nurture

Back in August Amy was invited to have a cheeky extra Puddle Ducks swimming lesson in the summer holidays at Aqua Nurture.  Aqua Nurture was opened back in March and had been a real labour of love for Gary and Suzanne (owners of the Puddle Ducks Greater Manchester franchise).  They had a dream and boy did they go for it, selling their own home to finance the re-purposing of a pub in Gee Cross, Hyde into a fantastic new venue for local families – of course the main focus is the Puddle Ducks swimming lessons in the bright, warm 8m x 6m hydro pool but the venue also plays host to a number of mother and baby groups including baby massage and baby sensory making it a real “family hub”.

Aqua Nurture had a really welcoming atmosphere (as you would expect if you’ve ever had any dealings with Gary & Suzanne who are both utterly lovely and so very passionate about the work they do).  The café area serving delicious coffees, soft drinks and cakes is great value and there’s even a play area.  I must admit that this alone had me wishing we could swap our lessons over to Aqua Nurture but Claire’s sessions clash with Amy’s nursery for now.  I love the idea of settling in for a brew & a bit of cake after a swimming lesson in cosy surroundings … Who wouldn’t?

Kids at Aqua Nurture

Aqua Nurture cakes

The changing areas are well thought out with changing tables in each spacious cubicle and large buckets to store your belongings in – no faffing about with coins or locker keys which if you’ve ever been swimming with a toddler, will come as something of a relief.  Once you get pool-side there’s plenty of space for spectators, which of course Amy loved. She’s always super motivated when she has Ben and Chloe to perform to!

Aqua Nurture hydro pool

The pool itself is smaller than you may be used to but I loved this – rather than the high ceilings and big noisy spaces of your average swimming pool this feels safer and more secure for your little one.  Oh and it’s lovely and warm!  Amy normally wears a Konfidence shorty wetsuit for her lessons but there was no need at Aqua Nurture.

Amy’s lesson at Aqua Nurture was a joy.  Both Claire and I had fully expected that after the long summer break that Amy would be nervous and perhaps a little lacking in enthusiasm but she proved us wrong!  Whether it was the warmth of the water, the smaller pool or just the mood she was in I don’t know but she had a fantastic lesson and impressed us all.

Mummy & Amy in the pool at Aqua Nurture

One of my most favourite things about swimming at Aqua Nurture is that, because it’s not a public pool, you are allowed to photograph & film your child swimming – not during the lesson itself but during Splash Time at the end and of course you must be careful not to photograph other people’s children.  It won’t surprise you to know that I took full advantage of this and made a video to show you exactly how Amy is getting on….

Amy has been swimming with Puddle Ducks for over a year now and in that time her both confidence and skills have flourished.  Since filming this video back in August, Amy has increased in confidence and now even manages the occasional underwater swim for me so I’m hoping to go back to Aqua Nurture in the new year to make another video showing off more of her skills!

*Amy swims with Puddle Ducks free of charge for the purpose of regular reviews and updates – all thoughts and opinions remain our own*