Tuesday, June 21, 2011


An ex- colleague once complained that everyone in Singapore sent their children for swim lessons. Very few people taught their children how to swim. She claimed that her husband did; in a rock pool in South Africa. While I am in awe of her husband doing that, I don't think I trust myself to teach my kids to swim.

To me, of all the silly lessons out there for parents to waste money on, this is by far the most necessary.
1. It is important to be water safe. Not because we live on an island but because generally, water safety is important.
2. It strengthens their lungs. Every national swimmer that has been interviewed talks about how they started swimming to get rid of childhood asthma. While I don't particularly want the children to become national swimmers (the broad shoulders on Evan or Dylan would be okay but definitely not Little Miss Petite)
3. It teaches them coordination as do a lot of other things but I think learning how to breathe deeply for swimming is a great endurance builder. I was a swimmer before I was an athlete and I think a lot of my endurance came from the gazillion laps I did in the pool.
4. I never want them to be in the situation I was in when I was about 5 and tossed into the pool by my brother, who had totally forgotten that I didn't know how to swim. He got a earful from my mom and I got swimming lesson after having my lungs fill with water as I slowly bubbled my way down 3 metres of chlorinated pool.

So the twins start lessons. The original plan was to start before Club Med so that they wouldn't get too much of a shock while at Club Med being elbow deep in water activities. But cough caused us to switch it to after and it was a good thing too. Because they spent so much time in the water at Club Med and much of it under hawk eye supervision and with floaties on, the twins though became extremely water-confident.

This was more important for Evan than Jordan. Evan, having slipped and gone under before had been tentative about water worried that he would once again choke and consume a gallon of water through his nose. Club Med proved that he could be in the water without that happening and that was a great confidence booster for him.

Jordan, on the other hand, has no problems with water confidence. In fact, she is so confident in the water, it is dangerous. For her, the importance is water safety. Despite the fact that the waves were hammering at the shore line, our fearless girl runs straight into the waves that we were warned had great rip current.

Initially, I hesitated. I worried that the chronic coughs that the kids get would return once they get into the pool. But Packrat stood his ground and said that there would never be a good time and since we ALWAYS have cough meds on standby, we should just bite the bullet, let them build up their immune system and toss them into the deep end.

So swim lessons. Once a week for 45 minutes. It's a start and perhaps, I will change into my swim clothes and laze in the water while they learn how to blow bubbles and kick!

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