It’s been so busy around here that I’m just now getting around to writing down Char’s big 4 back in February. She had a princess party. Naturally.
She went with Aurora, not necessarily her favorite princess movie, (Rapunzel) but I think she likes Aurora’s hair and her dress, so there you have it. We hosted Princess Aurora and all Char’s royal friends at our old neighborhood clubhouse because at the time, our house was full of boxes. Aurora showed up and did her royal thing and it was the best money I ever spent. From the moment I let Her Highness in the door she took over the whole party and mesmerized everyone. She never broke character, even when her phone rang, interrupting her Disney soundtrack. She just chirped, “Oh!! I think Prince Phillip is trying to call me!” And flushed the Prince’s call. (Her hard- to-get game is strong.) We were dying. And a little impressed. It’s not every day you get to hang out with an adult sized princess, so committed to her role. There were a lot of bubbles, face painting, and a scavenger hunt. The whole thing went off without a hitch.
At four, Char is still a full-on Momma’s girl. She and Shep are thick as thieves, when he’s not being rude to her and she’s not telling on him. Char starts the night off in the bottom bunk of his room. They stay up way too late talking to each other but their conversations are so silly, Erron and I struggle finding the motivation to shut them down. She still craws into my arms nearly every night between 1-3 AM. Her love language is touch–cuddling and a movie are her idea of a dream day. She wraps tight little hugs around your neck that make you feel like the most important person in the world. She is also THE MOST impatient person on the planet…I think she got that one from me. It’s a constant work in progress.
At four, Charlotte can do a perfect cartwheel, the monkey bars, and ride a bike, which will mostly likely loose its training wheels by the summer. She can sorrrrrt of write her name. Tumbling is her new favorite thing. She is still our baby and the source of lots of our entertainment. When she turns five I don’t know what I’ll do…. so four, you need to last a long, long time.
Going into spring I knew I wanted to get both kids into a swim lessons or I would just not be able to handle a new summer swim season and keep my sanity. I’d done the whole “mommy-and-me” group swimming lessons with Shepherd before. Twice. Before Shep ‘s drowning, my idea of swimming lessons was getting Shepherd comfortable with water, with a mild focus on safety once he reached age two. I hate to sound blunt, but all those lessons counted for nothing last summer. I just didn’t have a clue what survival swim techniques looked like, and the whole idea of it kind of overwhelmed me. Going into this summer, I obviously had a different perspective. I wanted both my kids, ages 2 and 4, to learn how to react in any body of water if they ever fell in. I also knew that I needed a very specific type of method teaching, because watching Shep feel terrified in the water while learning, even for a good cause, would be unbearable for both of us. So, I started asking around. Overwhelmingly, the word on the street was: Let’s All Swim. Our experience there has been so immensely positive, I have to share it with you, should any of you be hunting for a place where your little people can learn how to survive a fall into water, and ultimately become comfortable, confident swimmers.
Let’s All Swim is owned and run by Megan Bachman and her husband. Fun fact, Megan’s mom is also an instructor. They offer lessons at two locations: The OKC one is located inside The Lighthouse Fitness Center off Hefner Road and a new Edmond location at Key Health Institute off North Kelley Ave.
Let’s All Swim uses the Infant Aquatics method of teaching. Basically, depending on your child’s age, your child will learn how to roll to their back and perform a survival float, and if the child is 2 or older, the life-saving sequence of swim-float-swim until they reach the wall or the stairs. This sequence can be performed for any length of time, which is critical in accidents like ours. When I called Megan about her program before we started, she explained her program involved one-one-one instruction, each lesson being 15 minutes long, with some built in time for teacher feedback. It’s a 20-lesson commitment, minimum of 5 weeks. After 20 lessons, most parents do a phase-out plan where they gradually reduce lessons week by week. In her 15 years of experience, Megan has learned that somewhere between lessons 20 and 25 is the sweet spot for little swimmers. For optimal results, she recommends committing to at least three lessons a week so that your child doesn’t loose confidence or momentum. (However, they’re flexible and will work with your schedule if needed.) It’s a time commitment on the front end, but by the end of my conversation with Megan I was 100% in. She is passionate about helping kids feel safe and confident in the water and she believes whole-heartedly in her methods and her staff. (Each staff member undergoes 100 hours of training before they teach on his/her own.)
Shep is a not an easy student by any means. He is emotional, moody, and his success in the water depends greatly on how confident he is feeling that day. Megan innately understands this. She has a unique ability to know when to push and when to spend a day “confidence building” in a child. This is what sets Let’s All Swim apart from other swim schools. Megan explained, “All my teachers must understand that occasionally, we might spend a day just building up a child’s confidence in the water. On the flip side, if a child is over confident, we’ll spend a day reminding a student that a respect for water is critical to maintain safe swimming habits.” This philosophy may mean that it takes a few extra lessons for your child to really get down the swim-float-swim sequence, but it also means your child will walk away with the necessary survival skills AND a love for the water. For me, that was everything. Both Shepherd and I needed a place to heal and re-learn how to enjoy swimming again. Let’s All Swim has done that for us and we could not be more grateful.
Not long after 20 lessons Shep could perform the swim-float-swim sequence across a large pool in deep water. It isn’t pretty, but that kid can float like nobody’s business. Char is on lesson 18, has her float down, and is currently putting the swim-float-swim sequence together. She is having the time of her life in the water. Over coffee, and out of a swimsuit, I asked Megan what her goal is for each child who goes through Let’s All Swim’s program. “I want to build strong, confident, capable swimmers who just love the water.” Megan says. Well Megan, my kids now treat each bath as if it’s a pool and have thrown out the bath toys to make room for practicing their safe floats and roll-backs. I’d say mission accomplished.
It’s Worth Noting….
*Let’s All Swim provides infant survival programs, mommy-and-me classes, as well as stroke-development lessons for more advanced swimmers. They can also teach adults.
*Megan and her staff have experience teaching to a variety of special needs such as students with traumatic water experiences, and students with disabilities.
*There can be a bit of a wait to get on the schedule during peak seasons (May-August) but with the new Edmond location and an increase in staff, the wait should shrink.