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!

Chloe’s started swimming!

Chloe has been on the waiting list for swimming lessons since forever.  It feels that way anyhow.  She knew she could have lessons when she was three and on her third birthday started asking when Ben would be teaching her to swim.  We put her on the waiting list from around May last year expecting a short wait and her to be swimming by September.  As it was she was offered lessons almost immediately however they were early on a Thursdaay evening and there was just no chance I’d have been able to get her there when I was working so we had to decline them and get her back on the list. 

Every week she patiently watches Ben have his lessons and asks when it’s her turn.  Yesterday. Finally. I got a phonecall saying she could start this afternoon! 

This was her reaction to the news: 

I warned her that the water would be cold, it wouldn’t be like getting in the bath!  She said she didn’t mind but I can’t say I wasn’t worried she might not enjoy that element of things!  We talked about having to get changed and go and sit on the side with Ben, about listening to her teacher and doing as she was told and then getting changed again afterwards.  She was so excited and told everyone she saw for the rest of the day! 

This morning she got up and asked if it was a swimming day then ran around her bedroom excitedly before quickly having a little strop that she needed to put her school uniform on telling me “But you said it was a swimming day!” – I had to explain that she would be going to school as normal and we’d go swimming after we’d picked Ben up at tea time. 
When we got to the swimming pool I walked behind them as Chloe asked Ben “So how do you swim then?” and he explained carefully that she should “kick her legs, hard but not splashy” and then she’d move but the teacher would tell her how to do it properly – they were very sweet.  I was really impressed by how quickly and sensibly they both got changed, it certainly made my life a bit easier!  By the time I got upstairs they were both sat next to each other at the side of the pool waiting for their lesson to start. 

I could see she was excited but I was nervous that she might not be so impressed once she actually got in the water.  I was so proud of her for getting in to the pool straight away, no messing, no fuss.  She was obviously nervous but listened carefully to what she was told to do and tried really hard.  Much like Ben when he first started swimming she really wasn’t keen on lying on her back so we might have to work on that in the bath a bit.

I even managed to take a sneaky video for Daddy – don’t tell anyone!! 

When she came out of the water I asked her if she’d liked it and she told me she hadn’t because it was cold.  I think in actually fact she had quite enjoyed the swimming but just didn’t like the getting out and getting changed bit – and who can blame her, getting dressed after swimming is never any fun is it?  Much as she was hard work to get dressed she did cope pretty well.  I think I might need to invest in some onsies for getting them dressed a bit faster even if they are something of an abomination! If anyone has any tips for getting them both dried and changed quickly then do let me know!

Trunki Paddlepak – Review

Ben has been learning to swim for a couple of years now but he has never had a ‘proper’ swimming bag – we’ve always just chucked his things in whatever we had to hand, usually a supermarket “bag for life” type thing.  It does the job but it’s not exactly exciting.

We were asked to review the new Trunki Paddlepak and I knew immediately that it would be great for Ben’s swimming kit.  I showed him the website and asked him which bag he would like “That one please Mum, the shark.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell him the one he had chosen was actually a killer whale – besides I was secretly quite pleased he’d chosen that one as I really liked the look of it.

When the bag arrived I was struck by how light it was – but I also thought it seemed quite small and worried that we wouldn’t get much in it.  I needn’t have been concerned.  Ben was so excited when he saw the bag that he rushed off to grab all his swimming gear and pack his bag ready for his next lesson (almost a whole week away!)  We were easily able to fit in a large beach towel, swimming trunks, talcum powder & swimming hat with plenty of room to spare.

Features of Trunki Paddlepak

The bag is packed with features – the most notable being the water-resistant fabric and the roll top closure to prevent water getting in (or out!)

What we love:

* The Trunki Paddlepak is lightweight and of a good size to make it comfortable for a child to carry

* The shoulder straps are easily adjustable which is great as I find backpacks often seem to trail down kids’ backs

* Reflective patches on the straps are a great safety feature but fit in with the design beautifully

* It’s deceptively spacious – Ben was easily able to fit all his clothes & shoes in during his swimming lesson (and you can imagine that he hadn’t really folded them!)

* It’s water-resistant – ideal for a soggy swimming kit!

* The roll top is easy for Ben to fasten by himself and also stops water getting in or out

* There’s a handy mesh side pocket “for a drink” according to Ben.

* The back of the bag is padded for comfort and also covered with mesh to stop it being sweaty

* There’s a handy internal pocket

* The tail forms a dry zip pocket which we found useful for popping some change in for the locker

* The “Trunki Grip” makes for a handy place to keep your sunglasses – a feature which Ben though was really cool

* A loop for hanging the Trunki Paddlepak up on a hook

What we’re not so keen on:

The only downside for me is that Chloe loves Ben’s Paddlepak so much I’m going to have to buy her one too when she starts her swimming lessons!  In all seriousness there isn’t anything I would change about the Paddlepak – I’m hugely impressed by it.

Trunki Paddlepak Killer Whale

Ben was excited to try his new bag – the biggest bonus here was that it meant he carried his own bag to swimming instead of me having to carry it!  Although we have used the Trunki Paddlepak for Ben’s swimming kit he also reckoned it would be good for school or adventures and I have to agree.  According to Ben “It’s the coolest bag ever” and who am I to argue with that?

Trunki Paddlepak

If you’d like to find out more about Trunki you can seek them out in the following places:

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*Disclaimer – We were sent the Trunki Paddlepak free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are our own*
 
 

Konfidence swimwear – Review

Quite a while ago now the really very lovely people at Konfidence sent me some fabulous bits of kit to help me get my girls swimming.  I explained that our local pool is so ridiculously cold that Ben used to go blue and visibly shiver during his swimming lessons, it would take me ages to get him warm again afterwards and other Mums used to comment on how they’d never seen anyone look so cold!  Of course this had put me off taking Chloe, and subsequently Amy.  Chloe, however, is now really keen to learn to swim just like her big brother and keeps asking us to take her, I had explained we couldn’t go while Amy was so tiny as it would be far too cold for her and we left it at that.  
This is where Konfidence jumped in to save the day sending me a Babywarma and a Warma Wetsuit . . . unfortunately my own lack of appropriate swimwear was an entirely different kettle of fish when I realised that I had either an enormous maternity tankini or my pre-Ben swimming costume . . . which didn’t come even close to fitting!!  Which means that we’ve still not actually made it to the local swimming pool.  Shameful. 

Babywarma
Last week weather was absolutely beautiful and I took the chance to try out Amy’s Babywarma while she had her very first dip in the paddling pool.  Now she’s always loved a bath but I really couldn’t have predicted how much she would love the paddling pool – I think it was actually the best day of her life so far! 

Konfidence Babywarma

She had an absolute whale of a time and I was confident that she was warm enough, that she wasn’t slippy and that she was protected from the sun! Win, win, win.

What we love about it
* The neoprene keeps baby warmer in the pool for much longer than normal
* It’s 100% UV protective (though obviously you need to keep the exposed limbs nicely covered in suncream)
* The neoprene is much easier to hold onto than slippy bare skin
* The suit lies completely flat which makes it SO easy to get on and off
* The velcro means it’s really adjustable so you get a great fit and plenty of growing room
* There’s a flap at the bottom which means you can change a nappy without taking the whole suit off.
* It’s not PINK!

The Konfidence Babywarma is just genius – they’ve literally thought of everything and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Konfidence Warma Wetsuit

Chloe has yet to wear her Konfidence Warma Wetsuit to the swimming pool but she has tried it on for me and can’t wait to wear it.

  

What we love about it: 

* Much like Amy’s Babywarma the neoprene suit is designed to keep your little one warm in and out of the water

* Although she looks like a little wrestler the style of the suit gives extra warmth around the tops of the legs but leaves the arms free for swimming

* Like the Babywarma the Warma Wetsuit the velcro shoulder straps allow the sizing to be adjusted leading to a snug but comfortable fit. 

* All the seams and edges have been made in such a way as to avoid irritation on (especially important when you consider these items are going to be worn wet, damp and dry)

* 100% UV protection is really reassuring 

* It’s not pink!! 

I really wish I’d come across Konfidence when Ben first started his swimming lessons two years ago, I think he’d have been much more comfortable!  Chloe will be starting her lessons in the Autumn and I can guarantee she will be wearing her Warma Wetsuit to keep her much warmer during her sessions!

Update (25.08.14) . . . 
Chloe wore her Warma Wetsuit for a day at the seaside last week and we loved it!  It kept her warm, protected from the sun & comfortable (except when the boys poured sand down the inside!!) 

*Disclaimer – We were provided the suits free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own*