I'm sitting in the glider that I used to nurse BB in during the wee hours of the night while BB redecorates his room - "I think these books on the shelf would all make a much better rug Mama, and also why are these drawers closed when they looks so much better open! It's all about open storage Mama - Plus, this way I can pull out all of my shoes and socks and stomp around with them! And the rocking chair should really be facing the wall, but don't worry, I'll take care of the heavy lifting," until it's time to change him into his swim shirt for his ISR lesson. I can't believe I haven't blogged about ISR yet! BB is completing his fourth week (of six) of swim lessons this week - the lessons are really more water survival lessons than actual swim lessons. You can learn more about Infant Swim Resource here, but the basics are that they train your child what to do in a water emergency by teaching them to find safety (the steps or edge of the pool or body of water) and swim there, turning on their back to float to rest and breathe as often as they need until they reach safety. We don't have a pool, but BB's auntie does and since he spends 1-2 days a week there, and also since we live in Arizona where everyone, including two of our neighbors who have backyards that adjoin with ours, has a pool, we wanted him to have some kind of swim lessons, and decided that ISR was right for us after observing some lessons.
We heard about ISR from a couple of different sources - J had actually done a website for an ISR instructor through his small business (the website had pictures of children floating in pools fully clothed (to graduate ISR the children demonstrate the techniques in a summer and a winter outfit) which led to us affectionately referring to it as the "dead baby website"). Also, a friend from work's son had done ISR, told me all about it and she'd highly praised the program - in fact, her preschool aged son has been on a swim team ever since and she credits ISR with turning him into such a little fish. Another friend at work put her son through the program, and when she was sitting on the back porch nursing her newborn her older son (around two) was playing outside and reached for something and fell in their pool. As she quickly tried to figure out where to set her newborn down to go rescue her son, her son rolled to his back and shouted "It's okay Mom, I'm in my float!" Now, ISR makes it clear that this program is not a substitute for supervision, but clearly, accidents happen, sometimes even right in front of you!
The lessons are five days a week for ten minutes a day - intense. Thankfully the instructor lives around the corner, so it's a quick 5-7 minute drive over each day. We have to document when he sleeps, eats, pees and poops, and what he eats and provide this documentation at every lesson. I thought this would be really laborous, but it's actually really simple - we just keep the worksheet next to the fridge and it's no big deal to jot it all down. When we observed the lessons the instructor pointed out that although the kids tend to cry throughout the lesson, they cry not because they are in fear but because they know when they get in water for ISR it's time to work, not play. The kids still engage in the lesson and learn, which they would not be able to do if they were in a fear state. BB cries during every lesson, but he also claps if we clap and engages in his lesson.
The first thing the instructor taught him was to hold his breath as he feels the water rising up his chest and neck, and from there on out it's been amazing to see how much BB is capable of learning. Within just a few days he was kicking his feet and holding his breath underwater. She's working on teaching him to float right now - we had a setback because BB started teething again, which we didn't know until he got in the water and started clawing at his cheeks and pulling his hair and sticking his fingers in his mouth. Our instructor told us that the water pressure adds to the already intensified pressure in their head from the teething, and it can be more painful in the water, which is why he's fine out on dry land. We're hoping that during this week long break BB's teeth move and that the pressure decreasing so that we can move forward on the float, as he had made a lot of progress before our San Diego trip.
So that's what we've been up to everyday at 9:10 am for the last few weeks!