Baby swim and the first dunk
I spoke in my last blog about Ben beginning the […]
I spoke in my last blog about Ben beginning the process of weaning and how he took to it so well. I also mentioned how he would be going through a lot of new changes and experiences over the next few weeks, and I want to talk a little more about that today.
You see, Ben has been taking swimming lessons for the last few months. I mentioned it in a previous post where I imagined he might become a marine biologist, but I’ve not really talked about it in detail. Although he has loved them throughout, he always cried towards the end because he was tired. He loves splashing, much like bathtime, but he needed to be held close to one of our chests for security—and usually he needed a feed, which was fine because we have been taking our lessons at a baby only pool.
But now I want to talk about it more because … around the same time we started to lay him in the bath without our constant support, he started to need us less in the water, another example of him growing so fast.
Which is just as scary as it is cool.
Baby swimming lessons are not what you might think, as it’s not really about teaching little ones to swim at this age. It’s about getting them to feel comfortable in water, so when they do start to learn to swim, there is no fear or trepidation. This is already working for Ben. Instead of needing us, he plays and giggles without constant reassurance that he is OK.
In fact, last week it was me who needed the reassurance because the instructor told us that we were going to dunk our babies under water. Although I completely understood that Ben would be in no danger, my heart began to beat so hard that I could feel it in my neck.
My nerves were on edge. Dunk him? That meant putting him under water—where he couldn’t breathe!
I was going to do something during which my baby couldn’t breathe, and because of that, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
So I began to whoosh him from side to side as I walked backwards whilst I talked to him, telling him that we were going to swim under water. I was told to do this; I was also told to count back from three to one. So I did …
OK, so I didn’t do it. I tried again.
Yep, nothing. I was well and truly out of my depth. (Excuse the pool pun.)
I couldn’t bring myself to submerge him, and at this point my nerves were beginning to feel a little fried. So, my other half stepped in.
This is where I should mention that I haven’t been able to go to every swimming lesson because of work. I’d missed the previous four, so I wasn’t as confident with him in the water as she was.
She whooshed him and told him that we were going to swim under water, and then she counted back.
Three … She whooshed him to the left; I held my breath.
Two … She whooshed him to the right. I had to force a happy smile, fighting to not look terrified as he was looking at me smiling.
And he went under, only for a second, and my partner didn’t let go. She just gently submerged him and then scooped him out into her arms where he coughed and sputtered a little and absorbed the moment as it was brand new. We both told him things like, “Well done,” and, “You’re such a brave boy.”
And he was completely fine! In fact, he was one of the only babies who was completely fine.
This week we had to dunk again, and I managed to do it! Reminding myself just before I did that it would make Ben a more confident swimmer, which can only be a good thing.
I guess I learned that I have to be brave sometimes and let go because doing so will actually help my little man grow up without fear.