As a child who grew up taking extended-family summer vacations on Lake Winnipesaukee, taking swim lessons, being a (less-than-
stellar mediocre) member of a swim team (what can I say? I’ve never been much for athletic competition), and with a dear friend who had a pool in her back yard, water was an important part of my childhood. I have priceless memories involving water.
It was not by accident that I was comfortable in the water. My mom started taking me to swimming lessons, cutely called Bitty Baby Bubbles when I was a bitty baby and continued on with me into Buster Baby Bubbles. (Considering the clumsiness that has been and remains my faithful life companion, I’m pretty sure the latter would have been a better name for what I’d been doing all along!) Then, there were years and years of swimming lessons after that (Tickle, T, Pull anyone?)
So, when Ely was born, or rather when I found out I was pregnant, I just knew I’d take the babe to swimming lessons as soon as possible. In fact, when R and I were going through finances when we decided I’d stay home with Ely, I’m quite sure I told him, “ I just want to make sure we’ll still be able to do swimming lessons and things like that.” (At least I have my priorities straight, right?)
I’m happy to report that my little mermaid had her first swim lesson on Tuesday. She, along with nine other adorable babies clad in bathing suits and ridiculous swim caps, took the plunge. Most of the babies really loved the water and all of the moms loved the lesson (but not the equally ridiculous swim caps we all had to wear!).
The teacher did a nice job of getting the babies progressively more comfortable in the pool. We sang lots of fun songs, one that was particularly catchy: “Tengo una casita, muy linda y chiquitita. Si quieres entrar, tienes que soplar” (I’m pretty sure R has had enough of my off-tune rendition of that one!)
It was all fun and games until… the part where the babies were supposed to go under water! I knew this was coming, but I didn’t expect it at the first lesson. The first baby under was Sam-the-Swimming-Super-Star. He did an awesome job! While we applauded him, my stomach wrenched.
As a mom who really tries to respect my daughter’s personal rhythms and timing, I was really conflicted: She seemed totally comfortable with the lesson up to that point, but I know from bath time that she’s not a big fan of the whole water-on-the-face idea. Yet, I didn’t want to underestimate her or let my own reservations get in her way.
So, after two solid minutes of thinking about whether to take our turn, I decided that I’d try it once, but if she didn’t like it, we’d wait until she put her face in on her own to try again. Well, this little mermaid did just fine. There wasn’t a tear or a cough and she went right back to playing with the water.
Maybe she had no idea what happened, maybe she’s just blissfully unaware of the danger not being able to breathe presents (I realizes there was no real danger at swimming lessons) or maybe it rocked her world and she can’t wait to do it again. Who knows? I’m just glad I didn’t stand in her way. And I hope, with all my heart, that this is the first step to a childhood chock-full of as many sweet, water-related memories as mine.