Dear1 and I believed that swimming is an essential skill that all Singapore kids need to have, for obvious reasons that Singapore is but a small island surrounded by waters. But we waited till Baby2 was old enough so that we can have both Baby1 and Baby2 in the same swimming class, and save us having to make 2 trips for 2 swimming lessons. :p
After much procrastination, I finally got around to look for a class for Baby1 and Baby2 at the beginning of the year. Found a class with Baby1’s friend, at Bukit Batok Swimming Complex which is a two bus-stop walk away for us, and on a weekday evening so that it’s not hot nor crowded and with cheaper entrance fees too. Fantastic!
We had our first lesson on the first week of April, and before the end of September, Baby1 had already went to take the Stage 2 Exam, skipping Stage 1. Whoosh!
Baby1 had progressed so much in this 6 months. Initially, she was the one whom I worried more, as she seemed to have more fear than Baby2. With their back floats on, Baby2 is the one who felt more at ease splashing around and dipping her head into the waters, but Baby1 was so scared of her head in water that she cried. And you shake your head knowing that a crying child definitely will find swimming even more laborious.
I tried to be assuring, so I’d waved and smile and nod to them every time they finished their laps. I tried to help, by making them practice their swimming and breathing techniques at home on dry land. I tried to be encouraging, and gave them prep-talk all the way while walking from home to pool. When nothing seemed to work, I pretended to be nonchalant and put a book in front of me and my earphones on and told them that I’ll not be looking at them, so just “follow the teacher’s instructions” and swim.
Somehow, something must have clicked within Baby1; either she finally grasped the realization that “teacher is really always right, so just follow teacher’s instructions closely”, or her water confidence has risen when Teacher “threw” them all into the deep deep pool and made them swim back to the pool edge, or she does not dare to defy the sometimes-stern-sometimes-kind teacher.
I must say, Teacher is a very experienced teacher too. Most other swimming teachers with smaller kids usually start the lesson at the shallower pool, but our Teacher teaches directly at the big pool. For Baby1’s Swimming Test, Teacher told us not to let Baby1 know that she’s going for a test, cos he knows that she gets scared when she anticipates for it. On the actual test day with 10 students lined up in queue, she was half oblivious that it was a test and just did her normal routine following the teacher’s instructions. And cleared Stage 2, phew!
Baby1 is now officially the best swimmer in our family. She knows freestyle, breast stroke, thread water, diving, and is learning backstroke now. Conversely, it’s the turn to be worried about Baby2 now. She’s still reliant on the back float, and cries almost every lesson. Time to give her lots of hugs, and lots of practice on dry land.