The Kids’ First Swimming Trip

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Today we braved the local swimming pool for the first time as a family.  Finley is 3 and Fraser is 19 months old, so for some this may seem like a delay in introducing our children to the joys of swimming.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the idea of taking a borderline newborn baby into a swimming pool.  I get that it is important to introduce kids to swimming for their own safety etc etc.  But really, what is the likelihood of a newborn finding himself in the situation where they have to fend for themselves in an accidental water situation?  I also believe that this could be extended to slightly older children too.  If a little kid has found himself in the situation where he is unaccompanied by an adult around a large body of water, then something has gone seriously wrong already.

I really do question what the real point is of taking babies into chlorinated, public swimming pools.  What are they gaining that they can’t gain from splashing around in their own bath at home, without the skin-fauna-stripping chemicals and foreign floaters (I’m referring to other children’s snot)?  But maybe I’m just a backward parent who deprived her babies of swimming pools and will have to live with this mistake for the rest of my days.

Either way, it was time that we introduced our elder son to the pool, knowing that he would probably enjoy the permission to splash without limits, not to mention the opportunity for him to burn off some energy and get some all-important exercise.  We took Fraser (19-months) along because we’re gluttons for punishment we thought he’d also love it.

I haven’t been near a swimming pool since my honeymoon back in September 2010 (yes, it’s been a while).  And on honeymoon, the swimming we did was in a private, outdoor pool at our private villa, or in the sea.  Needless to say, I had forgotten about the whole ‘experience’ of public swimming pools.  Stick a pre-schooler and toddler into the mix, and things we even more fun.

We got there at the crack of dawn (10am), to ensure we beat the crowds.  Thankfully there were ‘family’ changing rooms, which meant that Ian and I could attack the children together, rather than one of us (me) being lumbered with getting them ready on our own.  The family changing rooms were actually just large, all-purpose changing rooms, designed for large groups of people (probably school children and football teams) to get ready in.  It served the purpose.  We got changed.

We headed for the pool, via the actual changing rooms, and were relieved to discover an empty children’s pool.  Finley was delighted with the prospect of getting into this huge body of water, so Ian took him in.  I carried Fraser, who began to panic the second he saw my forward-foot hit the water (this was kind of ironic really, as he was born straight into the water).  He panicked and panicked, I held him close, I sang him songs, but to no avail.  After some bizarre techniques and slowly but surely getting lower to the water, he ceased trembling and screaming.

Ian took over babysitting Fraser at the water’s edge and I took to the water to have some fun with an enthusiastic Finley.  Ian did incredibly well at easing Fraser’s fears, and figured out that he was ok if he could have his feet on the bottom of the pool.  So Fraser spent the last part of the swimming session rooted to one spot.  But at least he was now relatively happy.

After nearly an hour (I didn’t think we’d make 10 minutes) we decided that Finley was looking borderline hypothermic (yet surprisingly happy), and Fraser was likely to be ravenous.  We headed back to the changing room.

I remember post-swim changing being fairly icky at the best of times (until I started earning money and was able to afford luxury gym memberships).  Yucky wet floors, communal showers – I was never a fan of the public swimming pool experience.  Nevertheless, I always found that having a nice warm shower and taking the time to apply of lashings of moisturiser helped ease the ickiness.  But with two little children in tow, there’s no chance of pampering.  We bundled into the changing room without the chance to shower.  Fraser managed to slip over twice while I forced clothes over Finley’s damp body and Ian attempted to organise the wet swimming gear and towels.  A few minutes later, with the aid of a thin layer of talc-paste covering their little bodies, we wafted our eau de chlorine out of the building and into the car.

Feeling a simultaneous sense of relief (that it was over) and achievement (that we’d got them in and out in one piece), we resolved to return again next weekend for more of the same.

What was your first swimming experience with your kids like?  Were your kids terrified or in heaven in the pool?

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7 thoughts on “The Kids’ First Swimming Trip

  1. You’re going back?! Hahah!

    I am exactly the same and never understood baby swimming either (who having had a baby a month or two even wants to get in a swimming costume bar Heidi Klum?) but it’s chlorinated and germified isn’t it?!

    … Oliver’s chronic glue ear actually but a stop to potential swimming even if I had wanted to (which I never did) and so far the boys have only swam if we were luckily on holiday. Alexander, the wild spirit that he is loved the sea too. Never too deep of course, I’m the biggest wimp and always stay shallow (with pools or sea)!

    Recently though, after a swim in a hotel pool in Liverpool, Oliver enquired why he can’t swim solo so it’s time he started proper lessons. I need to get approval from the specialist and he will need another op on his ears due to a perforated eardrum that won’t close at some point (it’s been years) and swimming might mean this happens sooner rather than later but I don’t want him to get to a point where he fears the water so it’s finding that balance.

    He’s 5 in Janaury so I reckon it’s a good time to start and see what happens. If it leads to lots of ear infections despite plugs we might hold them off. School starts lessons officially at 6.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to hear about next week’s swimming adventures. Loved this post! I hope you can link up to #brilliantblogposts this week with it and if you get cooking, #tastytuesdays too. No pressure (loads!) kidding xx

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  2. Haha, yep – we will be going back (love that you got that little bit of humour at the end there).

    And oh my goodness – I’m SO GLAD to hear that I’m not the only parent with an aversion to baby swimming! I thought I was alone, I really did. I feel even less guilty and backward now that I’ve got you standing next to me on this baby swimming-front.

    Poor Oliver and his glue ear. I imagine it is tough striking the balance between putting it off for as long as you can, and it interfering with him getting involved with things (like swimming). The worry about him having to have operations must also play a huge part in your decision. I love hearing about Alexander, as he always looks so serious in your photos, yet it sounds like he is full of fun and mischief.

    Funny you should say that about being a water wimp. I spent two years of my childhood living in Trinidad, and during that time, I was exposed to some seriously rough sea-swimming, on a weekly basis. Yet as an adult, I am also a huge wimp. I stay very shallow in the sea, and basically don’t swim, just paddle. I’m a decent enough swimmer, I just have a very healthy respect for the water. (Hmm, I feel another water-related blog coming on).

    As for the blog linky pressure, I know. I MUST do it! I keep meaning to and then not. Ok, ok, point taken. I’m gonna do it. Schedule a butt-kicking tweet for me on Friday morning and I’ll put a post up tomorrow for #TastyTuesdays.

    Thanks for your fabulous (and morally supportive) comment – loved it! xx

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  3. I didn’t learn to swim until I was about eight and so I was very keen to get our kids swimming quite young. When I first became a SAHD I would take our eldest to the pool. It was great, she was guaranteed to nap for three whole hours after a swim!

    Anyway, she absolutely loves swimming. Having been introcued to the water, we had to then give her lessons because she is so confident and has no issues with jumping into water out of her depth. Under the circumstances we have got to make sure she has the skills to get to the water’s edge!

    We have taken our youngest once and she was also really entusiastic. As she has just turned two it’ll be a while until she gets lessons but family swimming trip swill start in earnest this week.

    I have to say though, I have little enthusaisam for the public swimming pool. All that filth from other people. Eurgh. #BrilliantBlogPosts

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    1. John, I remember being a child and feeling both ravenous and exhausted after trips to the swimming pool. I can certainly imagine your eldest was exactly the same. It is probably worth braving the gunge and muck of the changing rooms just to get an adequately sleepy child.

      The over-confidence aspect is something I had never considered, and certainly something I will be looking out for in my elder son. I think he may run the risk of being equally as brave in the water, so it will probably be worth getting him some lessons also. I hear they’re very over-subscribed.

      That’s great that your youngest was also as enthusiastic. We’ve got a bit of work to do on our younger son, as he seems to be a bit terrified of the water. I’m sure he’ll get there, but we won’t push him.

      Regarding the yucky public pools, the plan is to become millionaires, and then we can build our own private pool. That’s the plan. #Brilliantblogposts

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  4. Yay you linked! Haha you caved into the pressure. Seriously chick, never pressure to join but those who do really seem to enjoy it and it’s a great way to share your brilliance innits! You and I should head for some shallow end swimming sometime! Haha! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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    1. I always wanna link with you, but it is always a last-minute thing. I’m currently working on (which roughly translates to I’m thinking about) a #FashionFriday post. I don’t think I’d get away with posting a bunch of non-annotated photos…

      Shallow-end swimming; also known as paddling. We should do that.

      Thanks for having me on #brilliantblogposts xx

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  5. My oldest child is 5 and she has a pretty intense fear of water. She is comfortable in the tub but no where else! My family is planning this big trip to our local water park and I have been pretty nervous about how my little girl will do. The only thing about swimming that she likes, is getting to wear her swimming suit. She recently grew out of her current one so I am looking into Kate Mack swimwear and getting something that she will really love. Wish me luck!
    http://www.denimndaisies.com/kate-mack.html

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