Amy has been swimming with Puddle Ducks for quite some time and Colette tells me that she’s really been making progress. I’ve taken her swimming twice before this and they were good but not great. The first time I went I felt a bit out of my depth (metaphorically not physically, the pool is not that deep!). There’s quite a bit going on in the lessons, what with all the songs to learn and me trying to understand exactly what I’m supposed to be doing during all the games and trying to get the actions right. The first time I took Amy swimming it was quite early in her lessons and she was still a bit nervous. This nervousness wasn’t helped by me, mistakenly dunking her a bit further under the water than she was comfortable with without giving her the proper signal! She was fine, but she was noticeably more clingy after that incident. As you would be if a loved one had tried to drown you!
Anyway the second time I took her was far better, on my part, but unfortunately Amy was a bit under the weather at the time and possibly still hadn’t forgiven me for the ‘incident’. So she was still very clingy and not nearly as brave and adventurous as I’d been told she usually was.
Recently Amy has missed a few lessons through illness and our, at times, frantically busy schedules. Luckily Puddle Ducks provide you with the opportunity to book ‘Catch up lessons’ if there’s a space in another session at a time and place convenient to you! As there were a few of these ‘Catch up lessons’ to be had and the only convenient times available were at the weekend, Colette and I decided it would be a good thing if I took Amy and we had a bit of “Bo and Bear” time.
We’ve noticed that Amy has been very much a ‘Mummy’s girl’ of late. Sometimes to the point of her being hysterical if Colette has gone out and she’s left with me. I think this is fairly normal given how much time that Amy spends with Colette. More time than Ben or Chloe had ever spent with Colette by this point in their lives anyway. I can remember going through a similar phase when I was very young and annoying my Mum something fierce. So as an antidote to this we thought more time spent with just Amy and I would be a good thing.
The ‘Catch up lessons’ we’ve been going to are at the Aqua Nurture site in Hyde, Manchester. This is an old pub which Gary and Suzanne have renovated and turned into a pub. It’s a lovely place and a really good place to do Puddle Ducks lessons as you are in your own pool, not a sectioned off area of a larger pool, and as it’s designed for little ones the water is kept a bit warmer than a normal pool. Temperature being something which Amy has struggled with in the past, she don’t like the cold much like her Mother! As the lessons are in a different place, we are swimming with a different teacher than Amy’s usual one. This is not a problem though as Sarah was Amy’s teacher when she first started swimming with Puddle Ducks so Amy’s always happy to see her.
The Puddle Ducks lessons are structured through a series of games that help Amy in becoming confident in the water and then help her to actually learn to swim. Every game has a song that you sing to your ‘Little Dipper’, which is what they call swimmers of Amy’s age and ability, including a song about getting into the pool in a safe way. When I first went with Amy I didn’t know any of the songs and felt a bit awkward, but I’m far more confident now and I don’t have to focus quite so acutely to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong. This means I can actually enjoy the lessons now rather than concentrate on keeping up.
Amy has really come in on in the last four ‘catch-up’ lessons. For the first ‘catch-up’ lesson Colette and the big two came to watch, and when we’d got out Colette was a bit miffed that Amy was not showing me all the things she could do. The leap in Amy’s ability is, I think, in part because she’s grown in confidence that I know what I’m doing (partly true) but also because she’s just been showing me all the things she’s learnt over the past 8 months since I last took her swimming. The difference is remarkable. Yesterday Amy swam across the pool four times with the use of two woggles (thin cylindrical floats) under her arms without me touching the floats at all! I was just showing her that my hands were there in case she needed me. In our last lesson she swam on her back with me only holding her head very lightly. She was doing all the work, kicking her legs the whole way. It was wonderful to see.
The other major change I’ve noticed is during a game where Amy has to swim through a hoop while reaching for a single woggle. The teacher takes Amy and holds her on one side of the hoop while I wait on the other side of the hoop with the woggle. Amy is passed through the hoop and reaches for the woggle. Depending on the confidence of your swimmer the teacher pushes them across the gap under the water or on top of the water. Yesterday I left a really big gap between the teacher and me meaning that Amy had to reach for a long period of time and float without anyone touching her. She did brilliantly and was smiling when she reached the woggle. She’s so much more confident now.
The lessons are half an hour long which is just right for Amy I think. Once the lesson is done we get changed and then go through to the cafe area. The cafe at Aqua Nurture is lovely with a big window through into the pool area so you can watch the lessons while having a brew. After the lessons me and Amy have taken to having a cake and a drink if we’ve earned it. Unsurprisingly we always earn it! Amy likes to play with the toys in the cafe section and look at the books provided before we set off home.
There’s still a few ‘catch-up’ lessons for Amy and I to do and I’m very much looking forward to them. The more the merrier I say. They’re good fun and they’re definitely lessening the ‘Mummy’s girl’ aspects Amy’s been showing. Amy’s growing in confidence and ability and I’m loving seeing my little girl turning into a swimmer.
*Amy swims with Puddle Ducks free of charge for the purposes of review. All thoughts and opinions remain our own*