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Your kids look great in the pool, my daughter learned to swim when we put in our rock pool, she was 3.5yrs and we had also starting boating, so she learned to swim with a life jacket, then I taught her to swim myself when she was more confident, she is quite the confident swimmer now!

Rose on the cellphone, you on your Blackberry???? MMMM, wonder where she gets it from???

Keep well, give your kids big loves from me!

Go Rose! I am having my first proper swimming lesson in 2 days time, at the tender age of 35. Gulp. But determined that my kids will not be in the same boat, they have been having lessons since about 4yrs old. Now at 11, 9 & 6, we have fish for children!

I am the same kind of mama-wait a bit and they'll figure it out.

Are you guys running everything on solar? We have a cabin that is solar powered and its worked out really well.

Our nanny is petrified, refuses to learn to swim. Rose rocks!

I must admit I gasped when I realized you have a pool. I have such a fear of one of my kids' drowning that I refuse to get one. And, they both are good swimmers. We have one in our neighborhood and that is close enough for me.

See if your gym offers baby swim classes before Max gets to the "I don't want to" stage. Much easier that way! Yay for Rose, too!!

I love your approach.

What is a dummy? Is it some sort of doll, or a South African colloquialism that I'm missing? (I'm American.)

So, on the other end of the spectrum, I started putting my daughter on the potty when she was four months old to do her back-end business. She LOVES it, as she can't stand sitting in her poo. Sitting on the potty allows gravity to help her along. It's not exactly a common practice here, but a fair number of people do this. The movement (no pun intended) is called "elimination communication." If the kid is into it, it works for everyone.

Gosh! they look so big! (well, not Rose, Rose looks as wee as ever!)

Dummy is a Pacifier.
In China they also start very very early with potty training. I think that is were the concept for Elimination Communication in the US came from. Chinese babies and toddlers don’t wear nappies/diapers. Instead, they have open-crotch pants. In the rural areas cotton, water and soap are all scarce items.

Mama has the best shower - looks like out of Garden & Home! Huge & NICE! :) Same with the pool! Your new house is awesome - enjoy!

One more wait and see here. My 4 year old is petrified of water and I will not sign him up for any lessons before he actually likes going to the pool (which we do every once in a while). The 2 year old loves water, so maybe they can get lessons together when they are 6 and 4...

Awesome - I also tried to get my 3 into a swimming class in Durbanville and they were full so I got a woman to come to our house - result after 4 lessons: two of the three are already swimming (like fish) now we still have one to go. We also have a heated pool - makes for a longer swiming season. It's nice to have that "feeling" that if they fall in they can help themselves.

your house and garden look really beautiful!!

Max is the sweetest thing :) xx

i believe that 'training kids' to do certain things too early blocks vital parts of their neural development, and that they may be affected as adults. i really feel that kids need to be 'trained' when they get to the point that they can understand and sense what is going on, and why a certain thing needs doing. because it was the way to go back then, i trained my first two daughters (now 23 and 27 years) on the loo super early - both out of nappies by age 18 months. but, they have both had real problems with constipation. with the oops baby, now two yrs 5 months, i waited til she obviously knew what was happening. two days after we started 'training' she was completely aware of what was going on and out of nappies.

i like that there has been no real drama with your kids over their different stages of development, and that they have felt secure and supported as the changes have occurred.

however, with max, now you have a pool, why not get him some lessons so he is at least able to float and manage to get to the side of the pool in case he does fall in at some stage? in aussie, where i now live, we have dozens of kids drown in pools every year, even when they are closely supervised. the problem is for most of them that they don't know how to handle their breath when they first hit the water. if a kid can at least float, and manage their breath if they do go in unexpectedly, they have a damn good chance of surviving. i am a paranoid mother from way back, but it is reassuring knowing that amelia can hold her breath if she falls in, and can float unaided. still doesn't mean i relax, but its a skill.

Your house looks fabulous!

I think I will be the same kind of parent - not pushing them until they're ready. The books about child development are quite clear about that and they cite the same neurological implications that Ruth mentioned.

just a further thought re the neurological stuff, its kind of about letting kids grow into their own selves from the inside out, not the outside in. in a sense, the parents are there to guide and protect them enabling the kids to open out and unfold in their own time.

the old way was trying to mold them into the shape they 'should' be - toilet training by a certain age, reading, sleeping a certain amount of hours etc etc, and kids never got a sense of their own natural rhythms. they got punished for not conforming, and learned to feel deficient for not reaching some external set of expectations and standards, and as a results, many never learnt the value of being able to hear their own voice, or to speak out about their own feelings and wants.

i don't mean anarchy here either - where kids do whatever the hell they like, but more that parents need to observe the kids style and respond accordingly, while teaching them social skills at the same time.

a psychologist that came to me for a few months after amelia was born, helping me deal with grief issues from a previous loss, told me to let her 'unfold herself in front of me' and for me to carefully listen to her cadences and nuances so that i learned who she is. what an incredibly respectful and gorgeous way of parenting it is, and so rewarding.

i get the sense that you are doing that naturally with kate and adam, and now max, really trying to 'see' and 'hear' them as they respond as individuals, and tailoring YOUR responses in return. they are already huge personalities and will be comfortable in their own skin for life - a magic and truly priceless gift.

Ok, I just wanted to say I'm soooo glad I'm not the only one with a 4 year old who still has a bottle and dummy. Phew!

Max sure looks like he is into swimming. What a great picture.

I definitely agree with your statement about not letting them swim without an adult there. Even children who can swim should have an adult present.

@blackbird: Thanks! I get it, like a dummy nipple. You'd think I could figure that one out, huh.

I've learned by having my own daughter that kids set their own schedules for development. It was very freeing to resell all those parenting books on Amazon. There needs to be a disclaimer on all of them: "Your child may not have read this book."

I LOVE your parenting approach!! I emulate you!!! (I think that's the right word)

And I just want to say = having grown up in the "old" SA ... I love the way Rose is so much part of your family. I love how she's cared for and loved. So different from the Way Things Were!! It's heartwarming.

Well, your track record of getting your kids to do things is a LOT better than mine :)
Woohoo to Rose, it's not easy learning to swim as an adult.

Your family is beautiful! And nice pool and house too!

You are my kind of Mom!

I look at thy children, and so happy for you and your family. You are so lucky!

Hi Tertia

Just a quick note - please go to my blog, left a link there for my readers to your site


Go Rose,good job at getting swimming.
Glad your kids are like fish now,having your own pool makes a huge difference.


Great post. I like the pictures. My 3 year old son also loves to swim. It's fun seeing my little boy do it.

My 5 yer old can't swim and won't put her face in the water. . . Your post motivated me to try harder with the swimming.

I hate saying this and sounding like a creep....BUT, your hubby is a stone cold hottie!

According to my motor development class, 4.5 - 5 years old is the perfect age for kids to learn to swim. I think you're doing a fab job with your kids. You know them best, after all!

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