Holding Their Breath in the Tub


Last summer we bought an older hot tub off of craigslist for 500 dollars. One of those rare occasions where we paid asking price on something, because the owner offered to deliver it. He only lives about 4 miles away, so moving it was not horrible for him distance wise. His deck the hot tub was on was the same height as his trailer making loading simple. He backed the trailer up to the deck then pushed the tub onto his trailer.

The tub is an older model without many jets. The previous owner replaced most everything. He replaced all of the lumber with real 2×6 treated top plates, and cedar siding. The thing is built to last with real wood, not the cheapest the factory can get away with. He also replaced all of the guts heating guts. Instead of an electronic control and heating unit the tub came with, he replaced all of that with a simple heater. The heater has a manual dial to set temp, and a clicking timer to cycle the tub on and off a few times a day. The size is great, it has a bed on one side creating a “shallow end” and the manual control unit is bullet proof. I was excited for the lack of complication. Plus, we didn’t really use the jets in our last tubs, so perfect tub to use as kid’s year around swimming pool.

When the tub arrived we stuffed a few truck straps under the tub on the trailer, chained them up to the excavator bucket and lifted if off of his trailer. A week or so later we poured a concrete slab with drain to put the tub on, and ran some 3″ conduits stuffed with wires to power for the tub, and hooked it up. Cost as much to wire, and pour a concrete pad as it cost to buy the hot tub, but we the kids and use the tub 3-5 times a week, so totally worth the cost. Worth it enough I’ve been looking a fill sized swim spas to replace our tub to give the kids more room.

Shot above freaked me out. After unloading the tub, I left it hooked the machine and went inside for night time things. The hydraulics drained overnight and the bucket rested on the tub. It Looked like the weight of the bucket cracked the fiber glass when I liftd it off. Luckily it was only a deep scratch and not a hole in the tub. Below is the slab all poured with a fence around it to keep the pets and kids from running across the mud. The big pipe in the middle is holding the drain in place. I sloped all of the mud to the middle and put a drain in to avoid standing water on the slab.

The slab was only a couple of yards of concrete; not worth the cost of hiring a truck. We ordered pallet of 80# concrete bags and asked Trenton for help. Trenton came over and we mixed and poured the slab in about an hour. Once the concrete hardened we set the tub on the slab, wired it up with GFCI disconnect, filled it with water and started hot tubing. We don’t have a front patio / deck yet, or grass, but we have a hot tub! Priorities and stuff.

Oh ya, can’t forgot hand prints and a date in the concrete. Every time we pour we have to make hand prints.

Using the tub

Shortly after we had the tub working and started using it momma somehow became knocked up. Science, and some comedy CD from my childhood I quote says “hot water burn baby”, so momma stopped using the hot tub because we didn’t want to cook the baby while momma was cooking the baby. Hot tub has mostly been time with the dad and the kids and momma inside relaxing in silence. We go in about 3-5 times a week on average for 20-30 minutes. When the kids and I started in the tub they were all a bit afraid of the water and did not understand holding their breath well. They’d dunk their under and cough water out of their lungs.

Around start of fall time Mommas favorite store, Target, had masks and snorkels on sale for half off so we bought each kid a set plus some goggles. Mila started off a bit afraid of the snorkel and mask but Maddex took to is instantly. He loved having his face under water looking for things we dropped in the water. Eventually Maddex dropped the snorkel after he worked out to hold his breath and Mila followed what her big brother was doing. Now the kids swim and splash all over the tub, and don’t look like they are drowning when their face goes under water.

Fast forward to this week and Baby K is finally starting to wear a mask and put her head underwater too and I have no fear at all of the bigger kids being in the tub by themselves for a bit. They’re all extremely comfy and able in the water. The playing kids are not simple to get a picture of, but they are comfy. Of all of the pictures momma took of us for this post one had all of the kids looking at the camera – the rest were missing one or two of the kids. Sad face for me, the picture with the kids happens to be the worst one of me – neat.

Holding their breath

A month ago Maddex was asking me to time how long he was holding his breath underwater. I like nerd things, so I went looking for a swim stop watch you can use in water. The ones I found were a bit more then I wanted to spend, starting at 80$ and going up. Then I remembered when I was a kiddo in the tub timing myself I used a Casio wrist watch. Off to amazon we went and bought a cheap G-shock style watch for 10$ with a stop watch that works great to time everyone. The kids are pretty impressive and excited about holding their breath.

When we were started timing how long we could stay underwater the kids would try to hold themselves under water, float on top of the water, or squirm around all over the place. Then I started to hold them on the bottom and teach them to relax better. Yes, I hold my kids underwater. I don’t hold them down very hard and as soon as they move to come up I help them up. You have to pay attention and think happy thoughts about wanting them to come up out of the water, and it works great. Seems odd to say “I’m holding kids underwater“, but it’s something they enjoy. From holding the kids underwater we’ve added some breath management, lung cleaning, and relaxing. Now the kids do a few deep fast hard breaths to clean their lungs then one big breath in and I push them under water and hold them down.

They lay on the bottom of the tub and try to relax while I hold the watch in front of their masks so they can watch the time and focus on the numbers to relax and push themselves. Holding a kid under water and a kid relaxing – insanity! The practice is starting to pay off with results for them and they are proud of the results.

Results on the Stop Watch

Thursday, Maddex is up to a record of 24 seconds holding his breath, and Mila is up to 18 seconds for her record. They have a bit to go to catch up to dad, but I’m sure they’ll get there. My record from Thursday is 132 seconds holding my breath with the kids “holding me down”. Kids holding me down by jumping around on top of me. I’m betting I could hit 3 minutes if they would stop jumping on me and I could actually relax, but I enjoy a challenge.

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