family · Lifestyle · Parenting

Sink or Swim?



water_babies_swimming_happy_nappyHappy Nappy

Remember my recent post when I said that I would quite like to be the envy of all parents ever? Well last week I was the total opposite of that. I was the primary cause of Smug Mum Syndrome everywhere, but in particular four Mums who Dexter and I joined for swimming lessons.

Water Babies is a swimming programme for babes which aims to take them from birth to fully fledged child swimmer via various ‘chapters’. I decided to opt for the structure of Water Babies rather than taking Dexter swimming myself, in the beginning at least, in order to feel confident that I was doing the right things. When I heard about Water Babies I immediately thought it was such a great idea as I have been able to swim from a young age, and I would love for Dexter to feel confident around water and know what to do if he ever found himself in a difficult situation.

Call me naive, but I really thought Dex would love the pool. He absolutely adores the bath; if he isn’t kicking and splashing in there, then he is so relaxed and chilled that he almost falls asleep. Perfect candidate for swimming lessons, yes? Well no, as it turns out. He was one of the older babies in the class and the only one that cried; the ONLY one, throughout the entire half hour lesson. So much so in fact that we had to leave the pool and sit at the side watching on like naughty school kids, which of course was totally embarrassing (not that Dexter seemed to think so).

At the start of the lesson we all lined up at the side in our cossies (I was so not emotionally ready to be in a cossie), and we each looked as nervous as the next at the thought of putting our tiny little humans in to a huge container of water.

Once we got in to the pool it was a lot cooler than I expected as I had heard that they keep the water pretty warm for these lessons, but Dex seemed fine. However as the lesson began it soon became apparent that he was not in fact fine at all. He started crying loudly, which quickly escalated in to a full on wail, which in turn made it pretty difficult for us to go any further with the lesson.

With our heads hanging in shame we sat at the side of the pool watching all the other (angel) babies move seamlessly from one activity to the next with no tears in sight. Even when the instructor dunked them one by one right under the water (yes, really :-O) they each emerged looking positively unfazed. Brilliant.

I must point out that although I referred to ‘Smug Mum Syndrome’ earlier, the Mums were actually all so so lovely and didn’t make me feel terrible at all. They showed genuine concern for both myself and Dexter and didn’t seem to mind that Dex screamed over the instructor’s commands for a good chunk of the lesson.

I had a chat with the instructor afterwards who was also great at making me feel less of a terrible mum who is unable to help teach her child to swim, and we came to the conclusion that Dexter would maybe enjoy the lessons more if he had a wetsuit, which all the other well-behaved babies already had. The reason we hadn’t bought him a wetsuit before this point was because someone from the company had said that he should be a good enough weight not to need one, but he is so used to the toasty warm baths we give him at home that the temperature was probably a shock to the system…here’s hoping.

As the following week was fast approaching, so were the first week nerves all over again in anticipation for his reaction. I really didn’t want him to react the same way he had done the previous week; not only because it was a teeny bit embarrassing and I could see the pounds we’d spent on the lessons floating merrily away in the distance, but because I hate seeing Dexter upset and just really wanted him to enjoy the experience.

So off we went, brand spanking new wetsuit in hand, and threw ourselves in at the deep end (not literally, obviously). The second lesson was a success! He took everything in his stride, seemed much more comfortable, and I loved watching him look around and really take in all that his little self was seeing and doing…it was amazing! Plus all the other mummies were so complimentary and happy for both Dexter and I which meant we left the pool that day with huge smiles on our faces and ready for a big long nap.

I love my little Water Baby.



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