‘Freddie you are the definition of bravery…’

Ok, so if you saw my last post you would have read about our military style swimming lessons, where Freddie was literally thrown in at the deep end and tears came from kids and parents, well…

Today Freddie woke up and the first thing he said was ‘Mummy I don’t want to go swimming’ I said ’Freddie you only have three lessons left and if you can face it we can do something special at the weekend’

He thought a bit and replied with a very sad face ‘but when I was crying yesterday I wanted a cuddle, can you give me a cuddle today?’

I wanted to cry there and then and tell him he didn’t have to go but I didn’t ‘I will give you the biggest cuddle ever when you have finished your lesson, If I cuddle you in between everyone will want one and no one will swim’ and we had a cuddle there and then.

He accepted that and we got on with our morning.

When we arrived at the Swimming Centre he surprisingly said ‘can we run mummy?’ I said ‘of course!’ So we ran from the car park all the way to the changing room. Looking good so far I thought.

Inside, by the side of the pool waiting for the previous class to finish, his friends were chatting and playing but Freddie stayed put by my side.

Would Freddie go in?

Register taken and to the side of the pool they went….

Tom (instructor) said ‘this is what you are going to do today’ and promptly did a handstand in the water.

Well I wish I had a camera – the parent’s faces – well mine and Steph’s, let alone the kids! Noooo we thought, no way, no way.

After a few seconds Tom said ‘only kidding, I wouldn’t make you do that would I?’ Well after yesterday we thought he was going to!

So on with the lesson, and the children were literally awesome, they tried their hardest and some swam. So what about Freddie…?

All I can say is: I am the proudest I have been of my four year old chap so far. He tackled the full half hour with gumption, he tried so hard, popped his head under water, held back the tears, floated on his back and the highlight of the half an hour was when he swam a few strokes on his back without any aids.

About five minutes from the end a mum came up to me she said ‘I can’t believe how your little boy has been today, I was watching him yesterday across the pool and he looked so scared and fragile, he has been awesome today, what a transformation!’ so true!

Tom told Freddie at the end ‘Freddie you are the definition of bravery, you really faced your fears today, well done you should feel proud’ and I think he does.

So we have a couple of lessons left and if he doesn’t progress any further I will still be a very happy Mummy…

FYI Freddie is taking five days crash course swimming lessons at Haileybury Sports Centre in Hertford.


Four year old thrown in at the deep end, literally!

So teaching your little ones to swim is undoubtedly important and probably the sooner the better. Our little chap had swimming lessons when he was a baby, enjoyed water on his face on holiday at 2 and 3 years old and was confident in the water with arm bands. However, after two courses covering 30 weeks at a local children’s swimming class in Hertford he was still at the same stage so I pulled him out.

A group of us decided to try out the ‘October Crash Course’ at Haileybury, and boy what a roller coaster ride so far!

The first lesson took place yesterday, there were a total of six in the class, and three of them were Freddie’s friends (all four year-olds) and two others, a little boy who was about three and a little girl about four. To our horror (parents that is) the children were told to get into the water, and hold onto the sides, with no arm bands and it was deep!

Questions from us parents were flying around:

‘Does this man know these kids can’t swim?’ ‘Should we go and tell him?’ ‘OMG!!!’

Then he made them get out. Phew… Ok so that wasn’t too bad, then it was time to get their faces wet! Cut a long story short, two of us were having kittens while this teacher had the kids jumping in and letting them go under water. With hindsight this wasn’t really too bad, Tom (the instructor) was there to bring them back up, but they didn’t like it. Then they were asked to swim relying only on woggles.

 ‘He’s not watching the one behind him? How is he going to watch all of them at once?

The three year old cried and cried, and was soon taken away, four of the remaining five cried too, with Freddie sobbing and sobbing and refusing to get into the water. We agreed (much to the teacher’s disgust) to let Freddie use arm bands with his woggle and for jumping in.

This seemed to work for him, the others just got on with what they had. Good on them!

So we went back today, I promised Freddie that if he didn’t use arm bands today he wouldn’t have to go right under the water, his aim was use the woggle as an aid rather than the bands.

Now I am not a fussy mummy (well I don’t think I am) so each child this morning was asked to jump in, in turn. (oooh forgot to mention that two didn’t return and we had a new recruit). This wasn’t too bad, Tom the instructor took their hands when they looked nervous and didn’t let them go too far under until… It was Freddie’s turn, Tom held out his hands, Freddie jumped in, he went a little under, which was great, then shock horror, Tom threw him in the air and let him drop! My heart stopped, all the mum’s and lone Dad with us were aghast and Freddie was distraught!

The whole lesson was a roller coaster of emotion, all the other kids handled it fantastically, none of them cried and they all really worked hard. One actually swam for the first time and the others took to going under water like they had been doing it for weeks, not just a half hour lesson. Freddie found much of it hard, and it took all my will power not to get involved and pull him out. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Tom was probably wrong to throw him back in, and he adjusted his teaching for Freddie after this point but I am so glad I kept out of it. By the end of the lesson Freddie was actually floating, unaided on his back!

I am not sure what the rest of the week is going to bring, and the teaching style of Tom may not be to everyone’s taste but: swimming is not just a sport or recreational pastime, being able to swim is a life saver and sometimes life is tough. I hope I can drag Freddie back tomorrow, and that I can hold myself back for another lesson!

Until tomorrow…