Friday, June 15, 2012

How to save a life.

Did you know that drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death in children? A new report by the CDC found that drowning kills more American children (ages one to four) than any other cause of death except birth defects.


And I'm not even the type who usually lets statistics freak me out. I just mind my business, putting my energy into keeping my own kids safe rather than worrying about all the millions of dangers stacked against us.

At least I was. Until I saw this video:

Did you hear the part where he said a child can drown in as little as 20-60 seconds? SECONDS?! Now I don't care how mindful you are as a parent, 20-60 seconds can slip past anyone. I've had blinks that lasted longer than 20-60 seconds. Add in a bunch of other people, a second child, a moderately interesting conversation, a Corona, some summer your heart racing yet?

Mine was. Fortunately we had already signed up for swimming lessons this summer. And not the warm and fuzzy kind, either. (We tried those with Liam before and it was clear that warm and fuzzy was not going to teach him to swim...or even make him get his face wet.) The lessons we signed up for were the hard core, throw your kid in the deep end, teach him to roll to his back and save his life, type of lessons.

Liam had his first week over spring break and I was beyond impressed. He went from a 6 year old who had maybe NEVER put his face in the water (even though he thought he was a fantastic swimmer) to a kid who could float on his back for 30 minutes and swim from one instructor to another, blowing bubbles under water.

(It didn't hurt that he loved it.)

I only signed Liam up for Spring lessons because Finny's just a baby - he's way to small to swim! But when I saw a six month old arrive for the class after ours, I realized he was plenty old to learn the basics. Especially since our neighbors just put a pool in their backyard and if anyone is going to jump off the side while no one's looking, it's Finn.

So we signed up for summer lessons and as soon as school got out, we were off! 

It's a big commitment - an hour a day, 45 minutes across town - but they payoff has been huge. Liam is actually SWIMMING now. Face in the water, blowing bubbles, crawl stroke, back stroke, rolling to his back, diving for rings, jumping off the side, you name it. He's having an absolute blast (and his confidence is through the roof).


The best thing for me (besides how much fun it has been watching him fall in love with something so challenging) is that I can now focus more attention on Finn without that panicky feeling creeping up on me every twenty to sixty seconds. Two kids in the pool is no longer a nightmare now that one of them can swim!

And even though I can now have my eyes and hands on Finn 100% of the time, it makes me feel so much better knowing that if, God forbid I have to blink, he will not immediately jump in and sink to the bottom of the pool. Oh, he'll still jump in. No question about that. But now I know that given a worst case scenario, he'll at least know what he needs to do to save his life.


Today was our last lesson of the season so after class we got frozen yogurt to celebrate. But the real treat came when we got home. We were playing with the sprinkler out back when our neighbors with the pool came out on their back deck and Liam's friend shouted, "Wanna come swim with us?!" Liam looked at me and said, "Yeah, sure, I'd love to!" Do you know what I got to say to him? "Go for it." It was EXACTLY why we signed him up for swim lessons in the first place and I told him so as he grabbed a towel and strapped his goggles to his head. "Great," he said nonchalantly, and then ran off down the street looking 10 feet tall. "See ya later!"

p.s. - a little side note about "how to save a life" since that song is totally stuck in my head now...rumor has it one of the guys from The Fray bought the abandoned house on my street and is going to fix it up and live there with his family! The exciting part is not that a musician will be living down the street - this is Music City, USA...we can hardly go to Kroger without tripping over a fantastic musician - the exciting part is that he has a son exactly Finn's age! The fact that we will no longer have an abandoned house on our street is pretty groovy too...

(Oh, just watch know you want to.)


Morning Cloak said...

welcome back!!

No Mommy Brain said...

thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciated this post! I am a swim instructor and would love to know more about the method your swim school used...can you include a link or contact info?

No Mommy Brain said...

there's a link in the post...just click on "the lessons we signed up for" (it should show up in green instead of black).
or you can just check out