At Christmas we went swimming as a family of four and Joel enjoyed his first swim at just 8 weeks old. One of the main ways in which I’m aware that he is getting a different experience in life as a second child compared to Andrew is that he’s not getting to go swimming every week like Andrew did from the same age. Of course I know that this is inevitable and in many ways they cannot have the same experience as each other, but this doesn’t stop me trying to make things as similar as possible for them both when it comes to fun and important things like learning to swim.
So I’ve taken every opportunity possible to get to the swimming pool with them both. This has mainly been on Saturday afternoons after Andrew wakes up from his nap and the four of us head down the road to our handily very local pool. There are only two time slots a week that we can make it when the pool is open to general public swimming rather than lessons – Saturday and Sunday afternoons from about 4pm to 6pm – and annoyingly on the morning that Tom has off work each week there are lessons on all morning. But our efforts have been hampered somewhat since the new year as two weeks in a row our local pool let us down: once there was a gala on at another pool in the city so our local pool was crowded and although they were limiting numbers, they didn’t have a time limit on sessions, so after a half hour wait with no sign of being the next to get in, we gave up and went home, trying to explain to a disappointed toddler why we couldn’t go swimming that day; the following week was the week of heavy snow and the boiler at the pool was broken, so the water was cooler than normal – Andrew and I braved a quick dip but it wasn’t suitable for Joel, who stayed in the warm poolside cafe with Daddy. Our efforts to go swimming have also been hampered by illness once, and we’re put off going too often by the price – you don’t get much change from a tenner for the four of us, and that’s even with both kids being free still until the age of 3 years. I used to be a member as this worked out cheaper if I went just twice a week to get my money’s worth, but for the time being I don’t often have chance to get swimming on my own.
But this week we’ve well and truly had our fill of swimming, as we’ve managed ti go twice in the space of a few days. How? With grandparent help! First Granny and Grandad (my parents) arrived one morning, and when Joel was ready having finished feeding, we piled our swim kits and ourselves into their car and headed to the pool. Andrew was doubly excited! Not only was he going swimming, which he kept repeating “sweemming, sweemming!”, but he was going swimming with Granny and Grandad – it was like Christmas and birthday had come around again. It was so handy to have 2 extra pairs of hands for getting everyone ready and into the pool.
As we got in – or I should say jumped in with excitement in Andrew’s case – Joel wasn’t too happy. I was surprised about this as he’s loved it every other time we’ve been, but he seemed to calm down when Grandad took him for a little while, and then Granny got out for a little while and wrapped him up snuggly in her towel until he seemed much happier. When they got back in again he was fine, and started to enjoy it. I think it may have been some wind, or that he was quite tired or a bit out of sorts from his immunisations the day before, but I’ve given up trying to fathom the mind and logic of babies and toddlers!
Once I had seen that Andrew was having fun with Grandad and Joel had calmed down, I took the opportunity to have a proper swim myself, which I haven’t done since the afternoon before Joel was born in the night, in my attempts to kickstart labour with various methods that are supposed to be effective, including swimming breast stroke. It felt great to be back in the water, and I was quite surprised at how fast I could go and not get too worn out, as I thought I would be unfit after not swimming for a while – I guess my general fitness is kept up by all the walking I do pushing a buggy and wearing a baby on my front, which mounts up to an hour to two hours every day. I’m looking forward to when I’ll have a bit more opportunity to grab a regular swim for myself in the week, either in an evening or at a weekend, when Joel isn’t attached to me for quite so many hours in a day!
After we’d all had enough fun, though Andrew was less easy to convince that he’d had enough than Joel was, Granny got out with Joel and the rest of us followed a little later. A relatively easy change session later and we were good to go. Joel and I went home to feed, and Andrew got a further treat by going to the cafe in the supermarket to get a drink and cake with Granny and Grandad, after which they helpfully did the shopping. That was the end of round one of our swimming adventures for the week. Round two started a few days later when Grandma and Pop (Tom’s parents) turned up a few days later, complete with their swimming kits.
Again getting ready was a doddle compared to when there’s a ratio of 1 adult to 1 child. We then jumped into the pool, some of us more literally than others, and this time Joel was happy straight away, which confirmed my suspicion that the previous occasion’s unhappiness was due to some external factor not the swimming itself. There was splashing, splishing and general fun had by all, particularly by Andrew and his male grandparent as there had been a few days before. He was particularly fascinated by a rocket toy (he loves watching rocket launches on youtube!) that was heavy so sank to the bottom if he dropped it – and Andrew was keen on this too 😉
I too got to have a quick swim myself in the colder, sorry I mean bigger pool. Joel even got a few dunkings this time, and mostly came out of the water looking pretty happy if somewhat bemused, except once when he swallowed some water and didn’t look too pleased. Oh well, it all turned out fine after a few coughs and splutters. The pool seemed even warmer than usual, and its usually pretty warm, so we were able to stay in quite a while with Joel. But eventually it was time to get out, and again convince Andrew it was time to get out. We were soon ready to head home and enjoy a good meal having worked up an appetite swimming.
So that’s a round up of this past week’s swimming activity in our family. We’ve all really enjoyed ourselves, and can’t wait to get back in the pool soon – maybe this weekend if we get chance when we go to my parents’ for a family gathering on the Sunday.