05 April 2011

Summer Time, and the Swimming is Easy

It is finally getting warm enough to swim again. Not every day yet but now and then.

We are very lucky to have swimming pools in our complex. For me, helping my kids to learn to swim is very important, not to mention that sitting around the edge of the pool in the sunshine watching them frolic is rather enjoyable.

When my daughter was almost two she’d had very little experience in the swimming pool. We had spent most of her life in Brooklyn with no car and once in LA had managed to miss signing up for the YMCA classes when we tried. I started taking her to a friend’s pool whenever we had the chance and she would merrily potter about with her swimsuit with inbuilt floats and inflatable armbands while I waded around in my big maternity swimsuit enjoying my relative weightlessness.

Soon after my daughter turned three we moved into our current complex and finally had access to a pool whenever we wanted, weather permitting. That summer for two weeks straight we swam every afternoon. We couldn’t stay for long because my son was 18 months old and a tiny little thing. He would get cold and want to go home very quickly. After two weeks with no lessons, aside from a quick visit from a friend who showed her how to blow air out of her nose if she wanted to get down to the bottom of the pool, my three year old had gone from pottering around in her floating suit and armbands and refusing to put her face in the water to swimming underwater and picking things up from the bottom. I was so amazed at how easy it was. The turning point was the day she was brave enough to put her face in the water, after she was brave enough to do that there was no turning back. It helped that like most 3 year old girls she wanted to be a mermaid.  These days at 5 it can take her a few minutes to get used to being in the water if she hasn’t swum for a while but then she can swim above and below the water, swim along the bottom and do impressive handstands. She would happily stay in the pool all day if she could.

My son who, is now three himself, is a slightly tougher nut to crack. He didn’t enjoy the pool for the first couple of years of his life, I think it was just too cold for his taste but now that he is bigger and tougher he really enjoys going. He is using armbands to float around and we are practicing with a floatation jacket given to us by a neighbor, which allows him to use his arms more. He is still nervous about having water in his face, once we can get over that I think the rest will come quickly. I think part of the reason it is taking longer is the added work of keeping an eye on two children moving around the pool. When my daughter was learning he would be on my hip the whole time. I am so excited about the day I won’t have to get in the pool at all but can sit on a lounger peacefully watching them.

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