One word that you will hear frequently in the Aqua Tots Level 1 Tadpoles class is “Epiglottis” – never heard of it? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either, but it is actually a really important part of training baby how to block water from entering their lungs. In our 2nd and 3rd lessons I realized how much of the class is repetition – really emphasizing certain behaviors that stimulate the baby’s Epiglottis.
As I mentioned in my first diary posting, these early lessons are just the foundations which will lead to the building blocks of learning to swim. Right now, it is all about getting my baby girl comfortable in the water and learning to close off her air way when submerged into water. Speaking of submersion…we actually submerged our baby girl at the THIRD CLASS! I really couldn’t believe it – I thought we were at least 10 classes away from that (or maybe I just hoped we were). Luckily, Daddy was in the water with her for this class – he was much more confident and excited for the challenge!
This portion of the class involves sitting baby on the wall out of the pool and singing the “Humpty Dumpty” song rocking baby back and forth until you do an exaggerated 1-2-3 and then bring baby down into the water, fully submersing their face. I will admit I was absolutely terrified but up she popped, completely unphased. No coughing, no crying, not even gasping for a breath! I was so happy and quite frankly, a bit shocked! It is truly amazing how the human body knows how to respond even at such a young age.
I will be honest though – the class was not completely tear free. Our sweet baby did have a minor break down during the last 10 minutes of the class but our instructor assured us that this was part of the process and it would get better. I was a bit apprehensive walking into our 4thclass, wondering if she was going to have another break down. Luckily, our instructor remembered the situation and altered our 4thclass to meet our baby girl at her level – not rushing her into anything that may have triggered the tears again. We may have had to take a step back in the 4thlesson but I was honestly relieved. She was so happy and loved every second of the class. Although our instructor did not ask us to submerge our daughter in this class I did decide to take the risk on a few occasions and she did great!
One thing I have yet to mention is the visual representation of accomplished skills that we see each week in the form of a report card, which Aqua-Tots calls an “Aqua Card”. Each week the instructor keeps a close eye on the skills that we are asked to do and she checks off the skills accordingly. As you can see in the picture below, most skills will be fully accomplished when the baby has reached full submersion and appears comfortable. Based on our report card, we have a ways to go, but I am so thankful that our last class was a success and she was clearly much more comfortable with the water!
Aqua-Tots has two convenient locations in Dayton! BEAVERCREEK, 2451 Lakeview Dr., Ste. 106 Beavercreek, OH 45431 or SPRINGBORO, 716 N. Main St., Springboro. For more information on Aqua-Tots visit their website at www.aqua-tots.com!