Chicken, Airplane, Soldier

Swimming... it's a life skill. Mark and I have been careful to set boundaries about gymnastics classes, sports, ballet lessons, gym classes, and all the other programs innocently offered in communities. These are all great for kids, but more is not always better. We decided to only allow our kids to be involved in one of these activities at a time. I don't want to be a cab driver, and we like our freedom to camp, hike, play games, and just BE together as a family.

But swimming has always been part of our schedule. It's a life skill that we find in a whole other category. Since they were babies, the kids have been in swim classes of some sort. We have our times of "I don't like swim class" and those times when gulping water episodes have reversed a bit of the learning momentum, but all in all the kids LOVE it. They get excited to get their swim bags out and don their suits for a weekly trek to swim school.

Now, when I was a kid, swim lessons were miserable. Outside in freezing cold before the neighborhood pool opened to the public, there I stood...gritting my teeth as I slowly crept into the arctic waters step by step, losing my ability to breathe or feel my appendages. It was a horrible sort of torture.

But our kids have it easy. Some brilliant parent wised up and started a business of indoor swim lessons. Warm pools with naturally salt-chlorinated water that are open year round. No goosebumps or blue lips here! It's one of those businesses that makes you kick yourself for not thinking of it first.

We teach the kids swimming in the summer and only do the class the other part of the year. And it has been interesting to see some of the teaching techniques that the instructors use. 'Ice cream scoopers' teach the kids how to move their arms in the water, 'ballerina toes' help them recognize what pointed toes look like for kicks. But my favorite is 'chicken, airplane, soldier'. The kids float on their backs and make motions with their arms as the beginnings of a stroke. (chicken = elbows bent, airplane = arms straight out, soldier = bring arms straight down to sides) It is quite cute, and a great way for the kids to start.

Just another way we are preparing for our sailing adventures together. Here's a sneak peek...


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