(Edited later to add more commentary).
Natalia has made HUGE progress in her swimming since we've begun private lessons for her at our gym. Katya, too, for that matter. She is just thrilled about learning to dive, even though you can hear that she's quite self-critical!
She can also swim underwater to retrieve items from the deep end of the pool, do a pretty backstroke, a passable crawl, and good underwater "mermaid" swimming (if any of you out there watch the Australian show "H2O," you know what I mean-- from the opening credits).
Her teacher was a national champion in swimming... That's really something to love about Moscow; only here are you very likely to have former Olympians (who placed highly!) and members of the National Team giving lessons at your gym! The same is true for the people who teach the kids' karate lessons, the personal trainer I'm working with to learn to use all the machines at the gym, and the physical education teacher at the girls' school!
Last week I had lunch with another American mom from our school who told me how they hired a former Olympic swimmer to give their son his first exposure to swimming -- when he was four-months-old! Crazy, sure, but... well, why not?! If you're here, you have to take advantage of the good stuff Moscow has to offer! Something has to make up for the traffic, high prices and bureaucracy! And really, when it comes down to it, isn't it just fun to be able to say that?!
There is, of course, a downside to all of this excellence in instruction... Forget simply signing your kid up for "learn-to" lessons at most places. Want your four-year-old to learn to ice skate? How about a commitment of three times per week, for three hours a session? That includes actual skating lessons, calisthenics and dance! You have to be committed from day one. Let's just say that Katya dropped out after three times...
We're finding the gym to be a nice compromise... The instructors there are much more willing to work with us as much we find suits our schedules and there isn't pressure to over-commit ourselves or the kids.
Hmm... The video is looking quite grainy... Anyone out there tried the new generation of Flip pocket HD video cameras? (I'm thinkin' Christmas next year...)