I love the water.
I’ve been swimming since before I can remember, spent every summer from age 10-22 involved in swim sports of some kind (teaching swim lessons to kids, working as a lifeguard, driving a water ski boat, teaching windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking) and competed on swim team up until high school.
I am the rare triathlete who absolutely loves the swim leg and wishes it were longer.
And when I was pregnant, I spent a ton of time in the water. I remember holding my stomach (gosh, the water was so great at making that giant belly more buoyant) and thinking of the future years with Audrey, swimming, splashing and kicking together.
From the first moment we brought Audrey into the pool, I knew she was a little water baby, just like her mama (honestly, our first clue was how excited she got for baths and showers).
Or, splash pads:
For her first summer, she just felt too little for lessons. But this year, at 18 months old, I knew it was time.
(In hindsight, I honestly wish I’d enrolled her earlier than I did, but I don’t think we lost any ground.)
We own a pool and even if we didn’t, we live in Florida where there are pools and open water everywhere. I absolutely want her to learn swimming skills, but my biggest concern was that she could save herself or at least buy some time if she ever fell in the water by accident.
After a ton of research — asking friends, reading forums, watching videos on YouTube — Lucas and I decided that ISR, an infant self-rescue program, was the best bet for us.
- is for kids who a 6 months to 6 years old
- starts by teaching a child to roll onto his or her back to float, rest, and breathe, and to maintain this position until help arrives
- is a 4- to 6-week program, five days a week for 10 minutes at a time
- instructors go into the water with the child (parents can watch)
I was nervous, no question. The videos are very hard to watch, even though I knew that the program is safe and is run by highly experienced instructors (in Central Florida, I highly recommend Susan Fernandez). Even so, when it’s your kid, it’s hard to sit on your hands while your kid is screaming or blubbering in the water.
In our case, because of bad weather and a weird regression of skills at the 6-week mark, our lessons went a little longer than anticipated, but Audrey now knows how to swim a short distance and get to the pool wall and she can flip to her back and float. And while I’ll NEVER take my eyes off her at the pool, and we ALWAYS triple lock our back door to the pool, I do feel a bit better knowing that if something did happen, she has the skills that could save her life.
We spend almost every Sunday in the pool, swimming and jumping and having a blast, and I’m so thrilled that Audrey continues to love the water. My water baby is turning into a water child!
Here are some of her greatest ISR hits:
P.S. ISR does not allow you to use disposable swim diapers for classes, so you’ll need to get a reusable swim diaper. We also used a rash guard for the first week, but ended up switching to just the diaper so the instructor could get a better grip on her.
SwimOutlet.com is one of my favorite places to shop for pool gear — floaties, goggles, etc., and that’s where I get most of my items. Right now, they’re doing a big back to school sale, and you can see all of the products here.
The company gave us a store credit so we could pick out a few new items for our own summer swimming. No shocker here — I got new swim diapers 🙂