I unlocked one of the best secrets in Boise this summer. I found out about "Swimming with Mickey." Mickey has been teaching a unique style of safety survival swimming for 15 years. He starts with babies as young as 6 months old and children up to 6 years old. He teaches kids to become comfortable in the water and proficient at swimming.
We started classes in early July after being on a waiting list for about one month. Summers are busy for Mickey, so contact him early if you are interested. Lessons are 10 minutes long and are either once or twice per week. We have been going twice a week for consistency and the progress we have seen is remarkable.
Kiki always liked the water, but her experiences had only been in the safety of our arms. On the first day, I gathered my courage and handed her over to Mickey. She cried and was so mad at me. She could not understand why I had just handed her over to someone she didn't know and then was expected to go in the water with him.
The tears were flowing from her and I acted as brave as I could from the side of the pool.
Mickey was gentle and calm. He made no fuss over her demands to "get out" of the pool. He simply held her in the water and acclimated her to his process. I quickly understood why lessons only lasted ten minutes (it was an eternity). I feared that maybe she would now be scared of the water. Maybe she wouldn't even want to go in the pool with me.
However, once we were home, she began reminiscing fondly about her time at swimming. Mickey quickly became one of her most talked about friends. She looked proud when we talked about lessons. This activity clearly made her nervous, but also gave her some sense of accomplishment. She was tackling something hard and getting better at it each day.
Weeks went by and she was learning to float on her back and swim towards the pool wall. But there were still protest tears during each lesson. Then, after about two months, the tears stopped (this was just a couple of weeks ago). She went into Mickey's arms and swam with such focus and determination. She wanted to "get the wall" as she kept stating. Something clicked. Watch the video below!
Not only is she learning a life-long skill of swimming and water safety, but also a lesson of determination and being brave. She has been present each week to work on something that scares her, but also makes her feel strong. And for now, there are no tears. I questioned whether I was doing the right thing by taking her to an activity where she cried for 10 minutes straight. Was I scarring her for life? Just the opposite, I think; we have given her an opportunity to work at something that was challenging and feel what it is like to get better with practice. A life-long skill she can use the rest of her life.
If you are in Boise and want to check out Mickey's swim lessons, I highly recommend him. All of his information can be found on his website. Thanks, Mickey, for teaching our children more than just swimming!
We are so proud of you, Kiki!
Photo credits: Rebecca Silus (proud Auntie)