There are two types of Swimming Mummies.
We all know the first type well.
They are the ones who always arrive at the swimming pool early and with plenty of time to spare. They are calm, in control and probably have their swimming lesson marked neatly in the calendar, with a reminder on their phone of exactly when they need to leave the house.
Their toddler waits politely whilst Mummy gets changed, perhaps even assisting her by handing her the odd hair-tie. This Mummy is always neatly groomed and never has to wrap herself in a towel at all times because she hasn’t had time to shave. She has probably even managed to visit the gym since giving birth and therefore looks pretty fabulous in her sporty and practical swimming costume. She looks as if she is arriving to take part in an Olympic triathlon, rather than just take her daughter swimming.
When it is the toddler’s turn to be changed, she happily steps into her swimming costume. She does not try to hide in the locker, nor does she rummage in the bottom of the bag for the home-made, organic after-swimming snack which her Mummy has carefully prepared in advance.
During the swimming lesson itself, this toddler listens carefully to instructions, kicking only when she is asked to. She does not attempt to grab all the plastic ducks for herself, nor splash elderly ladies at the other end of the pool. After swimming, she happily climbs out of the pool and waits patiently, munching on her organic snack, whilst her Mummy dresses and dries herself.
Mummy is not this type of Mummy.
Mummy is the sort of Mummy who arrives in a fluster with precisely one minute to spare, bags flying, toddler dragged along behind her. She is probably shouting the following in a panicked voice: ‘Will you please keep still? Stop climbing into the locker! You can’t have your Pom Bears now, they are for AFTER swimming! Don’t run, it is slippery; I said DON’T RUN! Keep still, I can’t put your swim trunks on if you wriggle around like a hyper-active octopus. Please do NOT get that lady’s shoes out of her locker. Stop banging the locker door. GET OUT OF HER LOCKER!’
Mummy is the type of Mummy who forgets to pack the swim nappy (or has forgotten to buy swim nappies in the last supermarket shop). The type of Mummy who is always just one minute behind everyone else. The type of Mummy who seems to always be the last one to arrive and the last one to leave the swimming pool.
All Mummy can say, is thank goodness she found Puddle Ducks.
Puddle Ducks is perfect for boisterous toddlers and slightly exhausted Mummies.
Mummy and Pickle have attended two lessons so far at Stoke Rochford Hall. It is not just that it is easy to find (just off the A1). It is not just that there is ample parking and Pickle can safely get out of the car whilst Mummy juggles swimming bags, towels and snacks. Nor is it just that there is a spacious changing room, with a little playpen for him to sit and eat his Pom Bears in.
No – Mummy loved Puddle Ducks from the moment she realised she had forgotten to pack the swim nappies and Pickle’s teacher immediately provided him with one in the right size. Pickle loved Puddle Ducks from the moment he discovered that he was going to be allowed to splash, jump and screech to his heart’s content.
Pickle has always loved his swimming lessons. However, he does not wish to politely lay back in Mummy’s arms and float. Nor does he wish to ride on an inflatable woggle. But the Puddle Duck teachers understand that every toddler is different. They adapt the activities to suit each individual. If Pickle doesn’t want to ride around on a woggle, it is not a problem – he can ride around happily on Mummy’s back instead, giggling with delight. He has discovered the excitement of the ‘aeroplane’, where he balances on Mummy’s arm and wooshes around in circles. If he wants to climb up and jump an extra time from the great big float, he can – it is not a problem. Equally, if you are a toddler who is slightly nervous of the water, or who is perhaps not quite so boisterous, the activities are adapted to help promote confidence and enjoyment of the water. Puddle Duck teachers know the importance of a fast-paced lesson, with lots of short activities to keep the toddlers interested and focused.
But most importantly, they also understand toddlers.
And instead of spending the entire lesson trying to calm down an over-excited toddler enough to actually participate in the activities, the activities are adapted to suit him and encourage his love of water. We have squirted water at each other, splashed each other, and blown bubbles at each other. He has made so much progress even in just two lessons. He can already push himself off the side of the pool whilst turning towards Mummy. The heated pool is spacious and Puddle Ducks cordon-off a part of it for the lessons. So Pickle is getting used to the space of a larger pool and has plenty of space himself to wriggle, kick and splash around without upsetting anyone (except Mummy – he still believes it is hysterical to squirt water straight into her eye). Mummy is learning too. She is learning techniques to help Pickle be confident underwater, how to calm him down and improve his listening skills which will be just as valuable at home as in the water.
Mummy passionately believes in the importance of learning to swim.
It is a key life-skill, not to mention one that could eventually save his life. However, Mummy will not deny that swimming with a toddler is exhausting. It takes up the whole day – you can’t really plan anything else around it. Plus there is the faff of getting everything packed, getting him there and getting him ready; not to mention getting him dressed whilst Mummy shivers in her wet cozzy after the event. Booking lessons gives her the motivation to actually get out of the house and into the pool, as well as giving some structure to their time in the pool. Puddle Ducks seems to remove all of that stress; not only because of the excellent location and facilities, but also with the lessons themselves; they are designed first and foremost to promote confidence and a love of the water. This is hugely important to Mummy and as a result she can see Pickle’s skills constantly improving. Pickle’s love of the water – his excitement, his desire to jump and splash and wriggle and shout is embraced by his teachers. It is seen as a positive thing and they have helped him focus his excitement and improve his skills.
In short – Mummy could not shout more loudly about Puddle Ducks.
For Mummy, the last lesson was summed up by an older lady who had been swimming at the same time. She had been watching the lesson from the side of the pool and came up to Mummy afterwards. ‘What a fantastic lesson!’ she said. ‘He loved every minute of it, didn’t he? How lovely to see such a happy little boy.’ Mummy could not agree more, although she doesn’t mind admitting that she is exhausted afterwards. Doing the activities with Pickle is something of a workout in itself. But then, you never know – one day she too might be mistaken for an organised Mummy who arrives looking as if she is all set for an Olympic triathlon.
She can but dream.
* Mummy was delighted to be invited by Puddle Ducks to take part in a term of lessons, but as always, has given her honest views and opinions.
Lessons cost £100 for a term (8 lessons).
Puddle Ducks caters for a range of ages. Pickle and Mummy attend the Kickers class.
You too can easily go swimming with Puddle Ducks by clicking here.
Mummy especially likes the fact that you can use the online booking system to easily ‘book a holiday’ if you need to miss a session due to illness and so on. You can also book your catch-up session via this method.
Blog article taken from The Tactical Mummy - catch up with Mummy and Pickle on their website.