I have always loved swimming and back in the early 80s I qualified for the Icelandic Para Olympic swim team which was going to the Los Angeles summer games. I didn't end up going because I didn't want to do the training (I had absolutely no foresight, but then again I was only 12).
So, to have children who can't swim is quite strange for me. None of the boys can swim. The older three have been to swimming lessons through the school when we could afford them (which was only once or twice) and Erik and Lukas have also done a week long intensive at a local pool one summer, but they just didn't seem to get very far with learning water survival skills. I was quite disappointed to have spent 100s of dollars and still the boys couldn't swim.
So last week I decided I need to teach them myself. I am not trained in teaching swimming and I'm probably doing it all wrong, but well, I do have the advantage of being a good swimmer myself, but also knowing my kids better than any swimming teacher possibly could.
I haven't been swimming in six years. I don't even own a swimsuit and right now I can't afford to buy one. I wasn't terribly keen to teach them at a public pool either.
What we ended up doing is asking permission at the caravan park my parents are currently living at. They said it was fine for my parents guests to use the pool, so yesterday the Grumpy Old Man drove us all over there and Erik, Lukas and I spent an hour in the pool.
Lukas picked up floating on his back straight away. Erik can't do that because he feels too much pressure on his ear drums - I'm going to try and get him some ear putty to help with that. By the end, both the boys could propel themselves through the water using breast stroke arm movement. Erik could also do a basic freestyle. Neither has the breathing down pat though. Erik doesn't have it at all and cannot keep his head above water, so can only swim by holding his breath. Lukas has trouble breathing out through his nose. He has always had a stuffy nose and probably needs his adenoids reduced or removed, but I definitely felt that we made some progress, and with another session or two, they could start working on building up stamina.
In case you're wondering what I ended up wearing into the water; knee length leggings, a bra and a singlet top, and no one cared!
I adored being in water again and after coming out I felt completely physically relaxed for the first time is a very long time - as long as I can remember, actually. I really think I was born to swim, that that is my best form of exercise and that I really need to make it a regular part of my life somehow! Despite having not swum in six years and doing quite a few laps (of a very short pool, mind you) yesterday, I feel absolutely fine today.
Yesterday evening I was then picked up by my friend Vanessa and we drove to another friend's (Simone) house in Kalista, where a few of us had a dinner party together! Simone made the most scrumptious tomato soup with bocchini and whole tomatoes in it, this was served with bruschetta, and for mains we had an eggplant parmigiana, which was perfectly done!
We had a dip made up of this blend with sour cream and mayonnaise and it was delightful!
This is the family area adjacent the kitchen, but it is mostly unfurnished (the lounge and dining suites are in other rooms), the sense of calm is this room is just other worldly!
The upstairs study with the most amazing views! I want a writing study like this!
Views from the study!
We stayed up until early this morning, chatting, dancing, eating and drinking. There were seven of us in total and it was such a relaxed group. I came home this afternoon feeling as if I'd just had a mini-break!
It's been a really lovely weekend and in many ways, quite unexpected, too. I woke up yesterday feeling a bit overwhelmed by the thought of taking the boys swimming and staying away overnight at someone's house I didn't know all that well with other people I didn't know all that well (except Jayne, of course, but then we arrived and left separately, so this time she wasn't my security blanket so much as just someone else I knew at the party).
I hope there will be more weekends like this one!