Swim lessons for babies sound great in theory– they give you the oppurtunity to combine healthy movement, parent baby bonding and a life-saving skill. But for kids that are too little to communicate effectively, you have to really be willing to work for it, otherwise swim lessons can feel like all pain and no gain.
1. As you walk into the school for your 11 am-11:20 am swim class for tadpoles aged 12-24 months, you realize you need to hustle if you don’t want to miss any of what is already such a short class. Suddenly you’re very thankful that you don’t have to take the time to apply suncreeen before getting into the pool.
2. You find a free locker and debate whether it’s easier to get the baby changed first and risk her peeing in her swim diaper, or get yourself changed first even though that would mean being in a swimsuit for longer than is strictly necessary when you’re not on the best terms with your body right now.
3.You change the baby, then yourself. As soon as you head out the door to the pool you feel a familiar warmth rush down your arms and head towards the showers
4. You rinse yourself of pee as fast as one can with a child who is terrified of showers. You remind yourself to tell your partner that next week it’s their turn for swim class duty.
5. This pool is freezing, but you force yourself to get in the water even though you’d rather add your protesting screams to that of your child.
6. The instructor starts off with some ice breaker activities– singing familiar songs like the Itsy,Bitsy,Spider while the babies scream and the parents look exasperated. If you wanted to sing nursery rhymes, you would have stayed on dry land in the warm library and saved yourself the ordeal of finding a bikini that fits.
7. You try to mimic the instructor and do your best to get your baby acclimated to the water, but it’s hopeless. Even though last week she loved watching you blow bubbles in the water today she’s acting like you’re floating a pool of acid, though to be fair there probably are a lot of chemicals in here. You try not to stare at the babies that look practically ready to go SCUBA diving, and console yourself with the fact that even though your child is unhappy, at least she’s not crying the loudest.
8. With exactly 3 minutes and 15 seconds left of swim class, your baby decided that they love the water. In fact, they love it so much they want to splash in it, stick their faces in it and try to drink the entire contents of the pool.
9. You try not to panic and banish thoughts of secondary drowning as you remind yourself that you not only signed up for this, you’re paying for it.
10. You climb out of the pool and shiver your way back to the locker room to reverse the process of getting changed, only this time you’re soaked and wrinkly on top of it all. Maybe you should have stuck to the bathtub for another year.
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