Today was Elle’s first swim class!
I definitely over-prepared myself for how great it was going to be. I think I thought I’d meet other Mom’s and we’d commiserate in the locker room or something. That didn’t happen.
I did, however, learn a few things.
1. Do NOT expect to capture the photographic moment of baby’s first swim lessons when you are the lone parent with your child. There is no physical way to have your camera, photograph your baby, not drown your camera and not lose the grip on your child. So, two locker room photos it was.
2. That old wives tale about not eating 30 minutes before swimming. Let that one fly out the window. I picked Elle up from school and we headed to the YMCA for baby swimming class and I wanted to be sure we were early because I didn’t know what to expect. I SHOULD have fed Elle so she wouldn’t get cranky. Lesson, learned.
3. Wearing my bathing suit TO the gym was the best plan I made in the entire day. This made it much easier to get both of us ready for the pool.
4. You’re going to HAVE to put the baby down SOMEWHERE. I’m not a germaphobe by ANY stretch, but putting your baby on the floor of the gym seems a BIT risky to me (athlete’s foot on your chest, anyone?). So, I was glad I had Elle’s car seat blanket with me to throw on the floor so I could get changed.
5. Pool time for a baby who likes the pool can be capped at 30 minutes. At least this baby, on her first time. We got in the pool a little early because I was there early. So at 15 minutes til class was to start, I was in the pool and Elle and I were watching the lap swimmers, she was floating and kicking and splashing and generally loving the experience. That idyll did not last, however.
6. Bring two towels per person. You get SO wet and those Lil Swimmers diapers get SO WET that they just pour water onto your blanket.
7. It’s cold outside of the water, so plan accordingly. I’m not sure how to combat that the locker room temperature was so darn cold and how to have Elle not have a fit as a result…but I’ll figure it out. I did make sure to get both of us under the warm shower when we got into the locker room, which helped, but then we were just more wet.
8. If you are looking for the camaraderie of other parents, signing up for the Saturday class is probably the better idea. I figured that we’d have not QUITE as many kiddos in this class, but there was ONE other little boy. Not as fun with only one other little boy who’s two years older than your baby.
9. Find a teacher who is not a ‘sorry I’m five minutes late’ junior in high school who decides to take a bath toy and squirt your infant in the face with it mid-meltdown.
When said instructor said “I can’t tell – I don’t think she likes the water,” my (I thought very tempered response) was “How about let’s not squirt water in her face and see how we do,”.
10. Singing songs in swimming class wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for baby swim class. Again, I think I oversold myself on baby swimming class. It’s not like I thought she’d learn the breaststroke or something, but I thought we’d, you know, talk about kicking or splashing. We did not. The junior-in-high-school instructor, who wanted to tell me how we’d really want to shower/bathe after class because he and all his clothes smell like chlorine from HIS time in the pool (really, duh?…ok, no, thanks for the advice…ummm??).
When we started with a quiet rendition of ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and me and the other kid’s grandma were the only ones singing and I don’t remember the WORDS to Wheels on the Bus, it’s not starting off on a great foot.I wanted to shake this young man and yell ‘TAKE CHARGE!’ but I didn’t.
You know how the song says “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town,”? Well, I kept wanting to sing (loudly, because now the instructor is not singing nor is he helping to keep either of the kiddos in his class from melting down) “…all day long,” at the end. So I kept saying that, then I got tripped up heading into the next verse, so I was always a beat off.
Come on – Elle and I have Rihanna dance parties at our house. I should TOTALLY have this Wheels on the Bus crap down pat.
Ok, so I’m abandoning the numbering at this point.
We swam for about 35 minutes before Elle began melting down. Turns out she was cold, wet and hungry. NOT a good combination for ANYONE I know, especially a 6 month old (yes, my baby will be SIX MONTHS OLD on Saturday!). So, I get out of the pool and head to the locker room to get a binky, maybe, and see if I should just call it a day. But no, I have 10 minutes left, I don’t want to bail early (lest the high school junior instructor think I’m an uncommitted swim Mom…).(By the way, he informs me as I get back into the pool that ‘the last five minutes are free swim…so…I guess we’ll just do that now’ – um, dude, that’s what we’ve BEEN doing this whole time).
So, we head back out to the pool – which is when genius decided to take a squirt toy and, just as I’ve got her loving the water again (want to end on a high note!!) squirts her in the face. Ok, you know, I’ve practiced water on the face with her, we’ve eased into it…start with some dribbles, then gently squirt, then maybe, if she’s enjoying it, take it another step further. Not just a straight shot a la SuperSoaker style. NO. Not a fan.
Oh yeah, I forgot we had to sing the Hokey Pokey too. And he wanted us to put our ears in the water. What? No. I’ve got an infant on the verge of teething and you want me to run pool water in her ears? Nope. Not doing that either. I just ended up singing and swimming all over the pool on my own with her because she liked it and was chill that way.
Elle LOVED swimming – she just didn’t really like swim CLASS. So, we’ll try again next week.
In the meantime, here’s our inaugural bathing suit picture!