I remember, with a great deal of shame, the first time my husband saw me attempt to swim. We were in a villa in Florida with a lovely, big, heated pool. I had spent the first few days sunbathing by the side of it, walking around it or sitting with my feet in it. So he asked me why I wouldn’t get in and have a swim. Five years together and he had never seen me get in the pool.
I couldn’t lie to him about it, so I was honest about how utterly useless I was in anything deeper than a puddle. But he didn’t believe me. I don’t know if he loved me enough to want to prove to myself that I wasn’t that bad, or if he wanted a cheap laugh, but he somehow convinced me to get in and swim. After doing a limp doggy paddle for one lap on between thinking I was drowning I gave up. His face was one of pity and humour. The situation may have been different if I would’ve had some goggles and a nose plug to hand; saying that, it may have made it more laughable.
So accepting my inability to move in the water without floundering, we both agreed whilst I was pregnant that I would take bubba swimming as early as possible to prevent her from being as bad. I enrolled at Water Babies when she was 6 weeks old for a course that started in November at the Copthorne hotel in Slough. She bathes with me all the time and showers with her dad, so she is happy being exposed to a lot of water leading us both to be positive about going swimming.
Although I was excited to be experiencing this with her for the first time, I turned up to the lesson feeling a little worse for wear. What if I tripped into the pool with her? What if she screamed getting in? What if I was expected to swim? Getting her into her little swimming nappy and me into my costume were two feats in themselves bearing in mind her swimsuit was tight to get on and she is like a perpetual motion machine, and my suit, borrowed from my mum, was not intended for a new mum with a flabby belly and large leaky boobs. I also found getting us both ready to be a real challenge as I’m so unorganised and cack-handed that I seemed to take that little bit longer than all the other Mums.
The Water Babies lessons are great for me as they don’t require the parents to be able to swim. It’s quite nerve wracking getting into the pool while holding her, but by far the most worrying thing is when the instructor takes your baby to dip the, under water. She talked us through it after we did war, up exercised of bouncing the babies around, but still I wasn’t sure of how she would react to being submerged in the pool and so I was quite evidently, but not literally, shitting myself. The first time she did cry when she came back up, but I’m the two subsequent times she has been really good, meaning that there’s hope for her yet!
She loves the swimming position, where I lean back and have my two wrists under her chin and chest so that she’s floating. It’s amazing thinking that she has no fear going in and can be taught to be comfortable in the water. Their methods include teaching them to splash into the water from the side of the pool in order to make sure that if they ever fall in they don’t panic, and also singing songs and keeping eye contact as you move them around the pool. There have so far been three lessons, so I will wait until the end of the course before I give a proper review of it.
The only issue at I do have with Water Babies comes in the form of their prices for the underwater photo shoot. I was some excited to find out that the photo shoot was included as part of the £170 lessons fee, which also includes a £9.99 water nappy and 10 half hour lessons. When I was booking classes I was told that the shoots booked up quickly so I agreed on a date in February. However, just before the first lesson I received the nappy, information on the course and a price list for the photos taken at the photo shoot, and Jesus did it take me back.
They wanted £150 for one 10×8 photo or £250 for them on a USB stick. How on earth could they charge that? I would’ve happily paid £50 for that as a present for the family, but no way would I pay their prices. They have a load of information on their website about the photo shoots which presumably is trying to justify the prices, but there is still no convincing me. Don’t get me wrong I’m not shy about spending money on her, I’m just so against spending that much money on a photo.
But apart from the money issue I do love taking her swimming. I just have to master getting me and her dressed after without throwing having to balance her on my shoulder whilst I whip my suit off and put my pants on!