Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Poolside Panic - The Little One's First Water Excursion

Before you become a parent, you worry about things.  Things like money, your car, your health, etc.  Big things that most others probably worry about too.  When you become a parent though, you keep those worries but add a new layer on top that supercedes any worries you may have had before.  What worries are these?  That everything is going to kill your kid.  I'm a worrier by nature.  If something can be worried over, you can rest assured that I'm going to worry about it.  So, when my wife stated that she wanted to take my 8 mos. old son to a "Get Wet" introductory pool class, I began worrying about all of the scenarios that could play out, and they weren't pretty.

My initial fear was about drowning.  Growing up, I had some bad experiences in pools and those were the first things to come to my mind.  What if we lost our grip of him and he went plummeting into the deep, dark depths of the 4 foot rehabilitation pool where the class would take place.  It didn't help that I read a recent HuffPo article about secondary drowning and the horror scenarios kept playing out in my mind.  My wife was going to be the one in the pool with our son, and while I don't doubt her capabilities of holding onto our son, what if a sudden tidal wave from the cannon balling teenagers caused him to kick off and take a dive himself?  What if he noticed a toy in the bottom of the pool and suddenly showed his latent mutant abilities and shoved my wife aside to dive below and grab it, not realising that water breathing wasn't one of his abilities?  What if, what if, what if...

I did what I always do in these situations and looked up baby swim class testimonials and information.  Like the other times I've worried over things, I found out that I wasn't the first to have these thoughts (well, maybe about the mutant powers.)  Turns out that a lot of parents take their kids to the pool post 6 mos. and with a professional life guard on duty teaching the class who specializes in teaching to young children under 3, Jack couldn't have been in a better situation.  By putting my son in a swim class early on, I was actually doing what's best for him by introducing water early so he doesn't spend a life afraid of it.  So, while I was nervous about it (I'm nervous about everything) I agreed and went with them to the first class.

As soon as we showed up I noticed that Jack was not the youngest baby in the class.  There was a child who looked to be about 2 mos. younger than Jack and the mother of said child didn't look at all nervous about her baby entering the water.  There were a lot of older kids running around, but the class was taking place in a rehab pool which was separated from the general public.  When it came time to start the class, Reilly took Jack, along with all of the other mother/baby teams into the small pool and the class began.  I took my seat on the side with the lone fellow dad who also showed up and we watched as destiny played out before our eyes with our camera phones in hand.

Mom and Jack enjoying the pool
Turns out the class was pretty awesome.  Jack loved every minute of it and had a blast being in the pool which probably seemed to him to be the world's biggest bathtub.  The class consisted of a lot of singing and just moving the child through the water to get them used to it.  When it came time to dunk, we chose not to this time, but were instructed of a conditioning we can do at home to prepare him for it.  In your own bathtub at home, you can say something like, "Ok, ready, go..." and then pour a cup of water over your child's head.  This prepares them for the water that is coming with the signal words and they will begin holding their breath and closing their eyes.  After practicing this some on our own, we can then do this in a future class along with some of the older kids in the group.  The rest of the class went off without a hitch and we were rewarded with a very tired baby who took a really long nap when we went home.  

I don't think I'll ever stop sweating the small stuff, especially when it comes to one of the most precious things in my life, my son.  But, with some research, level headed thinking, and some advice from others I think I can begin to stop worrying about things that don't need to be worried about (in excess at least...)  In the end, it was a very positive experience and one that my son enjoyed.  We are building the foundation of a healthy love and respect for the water in my son's mind and that is worth the world to me, even if it caused a few extra grey hairs.

Swimming like a pro

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