This spring I enrolled Bastian in infant swimming lessons. I was so anxious to put him in his little swim trunks and play around with him in the water. But a part of me was nervous he wouldn't like the water, or at least wouldn't like a lesson. But I knew for his safety and my piece-of-mind, he would need to learn how to swim.
When I was little, from the time the pools opened you couldn't get me out of the water. I was a fish. I took swim lessons as a kid every summer until I was big enough to join swim teams. I felt so free in the water. I loved to dance on my toes and pretend I was a mermaid…what girl doesn't. I remember taking swim lessons and in order to pass a level I had to hold my breath under water for 10 seconds. The instructor had to coax me with a candy bar…you better believe I didn't hesitate. Even as an adult I love to be around the water. Summer is my favorite season, even in the hottest of hot days, as long as I have a pool nearby, I am in heaven. What was I going to do if Bastian hated the water?
On the first day of his swim lessons he did great! We played games, sang songs and even had water poured over his head. I was beaming with pride that my child did it! He was ok with being in the water and stuffing plastic toys in his mouth! The next week the real training began. They were going to go under…this is what I was afraid of. The instructor told us it's important for them to follow your cues. She didn't blow in his face before going under, but instead counted '1-2-3 up and under!' She would watch their eyes and breath cycle to know when to go under with them. The first time Bastian came up with wide eyes and mouth clenched. He was not really excited about it, but he didn't cry. We also did back floats (which he wasn't crazy about), practiced holding on to the side of the pool, and trying to climb onto a raft. Again I thought, Yay! He did it!
By the third class…he was on to us. He started to whine when he saw it was his turn to have the instructor dunk him, or back float. Week after week, he would cry and whine. I was kind of heart broken. My child wasn't going to ever like the water! He wouldn't never learn to go under the water! Wait a second…he was ONLY 10 MONTHS! I had to give myself a reality check and realize how young he was. Of course he isn't going to enjoy being dunked under water.
Luckily by the end of the 8 week session, he would tolerate the "non-game" exercises. We could get through the whole class with no crying. The instructor had to remind all of us parents that these lessons weren't about just having fun – they were to learn basic water safety skills. She told us it will require continual practice and soon they will enjoy going under the water and floating on their backs.
Now that it's summer and we have access to a pool, I opted out of the summer swim session. I thought I would practice with him at the pool, but I have kind of been bad. When he is having so much fun playing with his water toys in the baby pool…I don't want to spoil it by dunking him and risk a melt down in public. Bad mom! I am really looking forward to enrolling him for the fall swim session and see how much he remembers. As for this summer, I will continue encouraging him that water is fun! We better start practicing in the bath tub though so my little fishy can be safe.