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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Swimming with Nemo

Lincoln's favorite hand sign was "fish" when he was 15 months old. Nemo was the most recognizable fish friend for him but he was quick to name "fish" to other drawings or photos of other species, or live ones in the tank. In fact if we ever said the word fishsticks in English or Chinese he would acknowledge the word with a quick "fishie" sign.

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AJ likes the Finding Nemo story too having watched the movie many times in Chinese (official pixar translation) before we let them watch it in English. It's a great movie for naming the ocean creatures and
capturing the beauty of the ocean. They know about Stingrays, and Ink Squid (dad's favorite thing to eat), jellyfish (we have that too in our cuisine), turtles and sharks!

Some parents find the opening scene with the shark attack frightening especially when the attack leaves behind only Marlin the father and one Nemo as a survivor. Another interesting point about Disney movies and fairytales in general, the mom is always MIA. Just like in The Little Mermaid, as explained in the prequel, her mother was "squished" by a pirate ship. Where is Snow White's mom? Cinderella's, Belle's, Jasmine's. Anyone else who has a mom was separated from her - Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty. A different subject altogether, but I find these issues to be a great introduction to other serious topics like death and injury and I don't filter any of that out. Or we take it as a discussion of the food chain or crime.

Regardless the Great Barrier Reef is a dream destination for me, as is the moon. How likely would that ever be. In real life though, they've recently set up a real virtual tour of the Great Barrier Reef with live streaming video! The Seaview project website contains a beautiful slideshow.  Google will also launch the Panoramio site to link pictures to picturesque destinations, such as the Great Barrier Reef, accessible by Google Earth, over 50,000 panoramas!

You don't even need music because the imagery is so ethereal I imagined I could hear the sounds of the ocean beckoning, and my speakers were not even on. When the YouTube channel is set up I would love to show my kids this channel.  Here is a recent news article.

I'm hoping this will engage their minds to take up swimming and not be afraid of it. I've been taking power swimming lessons. In one simulation we used flippers (not approved on race day obviously) but to allow beginners to focus on arm technique. So every time I come back from lesson they ask me I wore flippers like a Deep Sea Diver (like the two divers in the movie who snatched Nemo). They'll call any swimmer with snorkeling gear and flippers a Deep Sea Diver; as well they know that the real deep sea diver carries air tanks on his back and wears a heavy anti pressure suit... so maybe I should just tell them the first outfit is a "snorkeling guy. Learn to swim like him!".

Other than that, my kids are frightfully afraid of the pool. They did "mom and tot" classes as infants but now they just want to cling on my back or be held for the entire "swim time". When is the right age for swimming lessons? What is the right approach?

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