Tuesday, August 9, 2011


We KNEW that we would want our kids to take Swim Lessons ever since we bought our first boat WAY before our kids were even born... Having a Boat is alot of FUN, but not as much as it COULD be if you were not constantly worrying (like I did) that the kids were going to fall out of the boat...
SO, this was the year we had planned on getting the kids into Swim Lessons. We were just waiting for the perfect time to take them, and we figured after our New York trip would be best. We knew the PERFECT place to take them already ~ Jan Thomas Swim School. This place has been around for over 50 years, and Matt's parents HIGHLY recommended it to us. (Thanks MOM & DAD for all the help) PLUS anyone who is anyone in Fresno told us this was a GREAT place too!! We went in a week after our trip, and LUCKILY for us we did because they were only open for another 11 days to teach lessons. A full set of lessons is 10, so we needed to get started RIGHT AWAY!! We asked alot of questions, and decided that we would only sign up Hailey for this year. They thought Landon would benefit from watching his sister and being a little bit older to actually "learn to swim, and be comfortable in the water." We were not upset at all, now we had a year to save up the money for Landon's swim lessons... (NOT CHEAP) So my home away from home for the next three weeks became the Jan Thomas Pools...
On the day of her FIRST lesson we talked about her learning to swim. Her response was always "Yes, I want to swim!" so I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. We got the the lesson, and Hailey started to get a little worried. As you can tell by the above picture she was really trying to take it all in... I reminded her that we all need to learn to swim so we can go out on the boat. They called her name I took her over to her teacher. Because we came near the very end, she had three different teachers. Her first teacher was Tori. She asked me to watch the lesson from behind the clear wall near the walkway; that way we were out of sight our of mind... So we did. They teach the kids basic swimming skills. We were warned that the first lesson would be tough. There would be LOTS of tears and LOTS of dunking...
Here Matt and Landon are enjoying an ice cream from our special spot behind the clear wall. We could hear and see Hailey having a tough time with the lesson, but after about 5 minutes she gave in and started to swim. The lessons are 30 minutes long, and the teachers are great at building a good relationship with the kids. Lots of high fives and hugs after being dunked and swimming for life... when the lesson was over I went to get Hailey and she was FULL ON TEARS. "Mommy I missed you." I was fully prepared for the teacher to tell me she was horrible, but she said she did great! Tori told me that all kids fight it, and Hailey was no exception. She also told me to not even mention the next swim lesson; just put her suit in a bag and bring her to the lesson, dress her in the bathroom; and once you force her into the pool the worst is over. As we drove up for the second lesson Hailey started saying "No, I don't want to swim" and REAL tears came down her sweet sad face. I kept telling her we all need to learn to swim and forced her into her swim suit and into the pool... her second lesson was a little better than the first...
 For her second lesson her teacher was Brooke. In this lesson there was less dunking and more learning how to kick her feet with her face in the water. She really did a good job listening, and got the swimming concept pretty quickly. Before I knew it she was swimming across the pool!!
 For her Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth lesson she had Melissa. She learned how to jump off the side of the pool and turn around and swim back. She also learned how to float on her back. There was LOTS of practice and LOTS of praise. By the Fourth Lesson as we drove up, Hailey was excited to get her suit on and go swim! SUCH A RELIEF!!
Anyone who REALLY knows my daughter; knows she lives in her own world. She would rather play alone than with friends (unless it is her best friend Haley Harden, THEN she loves to play with friends) She also does not talk to people she either A) does now know, or B) does not like. So seeing her interact with these girls made my heart SO happy!!
Every once and a while she would get my attention before she did a jump or a slide and give me the "thumbs up" sign. PROGRESS... I think so!! One of her favorite things to do was go on the ducky...
 They would put the kids up on the duck, sing a song as they went around (the songs were so cute) and then the kids would push off and swim to the teacher at the end of the song. Hailey LOVED it!!
 By the end of the fifth lesson Hailey could start at the short end of the pool, swim then turn over and float to get air, the turn back over and swim to the other end. The teachers had to give her a little help with the turn over, but she was doing SO good and it was always so fun to call Matt on our way home and tell him how good she was doing!! The last four lessons Brooke was her teacher again, and she just reinforced the things she had learned. On the last lesson I was able to get in with her and learn the things to say and do for her. Little did they know I was TOTALLY TAKING NOTES THE WHOLE TIME!!
 Here she is with Brooke (who we found out is in our Stake at church. We are in Clovis 3rd and she is in Clovis 7th ~ SMALL WORLD HUH!?) on her last day. She got her Medal and a Ribbon for being such a good SWIM CHAMPION!! We could not have been more proud of our little girl!~
Hailey was SO proud of her Medal. She keeps in on her bedpost to this day. And WE are so proud of her too. Almost on a daily basis she says to either Matt or I "I want to go out on the boat!" and I just laugh and say, "Oh yeah, lets see what Daddy wants to do when he gets home..." Needless to say we have had a few days out on the boat and she loves to jump in the water and swim!! She is my little swim girl and I love it!! THANKS JAN THOMAS SWIM SCHOOL!! We will see you next year for sure! ~
A few Videos of her Learning ~

The Last one was Me and Hailey in the pool!


AngelaBeth said...

Not gonna lie.. I didn't read the whole post but I'm glad Hailey can swim now! You know my mom has a pool right? You guys should crash it!

(I know dozens of people who've worked at Jan Thomas and I can entirely say it is the most unfair business and it's absolutely CRAZY. But it forces kids to swim so if that's what you need go for it. [If anyone wants to know why it's crazy I will TOTALLY tell them lol.])

Lindsey and Jared said...

SOOOOOOO cute! I can't wait to take Christian swimming :)

I am really glad that after the initial fear, she loved swimming!