A couple of months ago, Keith and I sent in our payment to join our overpriced community pool. Then we bought two giant floats for Matt and Nate to sit in, little life vests, swimsuits for ourselves and the boys, pool toys, swim diapers, sunblock, towels, coolers, and loads more. Needless to say, this has put a serious dent in our funds. But we can already say with authority that it’s some of the best money we’ve ever spent.
When the pool opened last Saturday, we trudged over with our giant beach bag and all of our paraphernalia in tow. This was after we’d spent several hours gathering up everything we’d need, preparing lunches to take with us, and putting sunblock and swimsuits on the boys and ourselves. It seemed—and looked—like we were going to the beach for a week. (Yet we still managed to forget towels for ourselves!)
We set up shop at the kiddie pool, which is separated from the main pool by a fence and is one and a half feet deep. We placed the floats into the water and got ready to plop the boys into them. Since Matthew just recently got over his fear of the bath, we thought for sure this would be a huge undertaking, complete with kicking and screaming.
But to our surprise, the twins immediately loved the water! They settled right in and began to smile and laugh. They didn’t even mind when the older kids descended on the kiddie pool—after being tossed out of the main pool for adult swim—and began splashing water everywhere, including into the boys’ faces. In fact, they reveled in the attention the big kids bestowed upon them. They stayed in the water for 45 minutes, and even protested when we took them out!
When we returned to the pool two days later, on Memorial Day, the babies again stayed in the water for nearly an hour and even began kicking their legs. Then, Matt actually napped in his stroller for an hour and Nate just chilled on the lounge chair with Keith. We were more prepared—thus more relaxed—this time and spent three whole hours at the pool. Two days later, the babies and I went again while Keith was at work (I got help from a friend) and had a blast yet again.
I can’t even describe how thrilled I am that the babies are so comfortable in the water and that they love it so much. For one thing, the pool is a great way to entertain them, get them to spend time outdoors, and—let’s be honest—wear them out. After all three pool days, they slept like logs all night.
Second, most of my friends in the neighborhood are pool members, too. Many of them also have small children, so they’re banished to the kiddie pool area as well. We get to chat and catch up while we wade around the pool with the little ones. One of my closest friends has two older daughters, and they are a great help with the babies!
But what really makes me happy is that Matt and Nate will already be one step ahead when it comes time for them to learn how to swim. I know many babies and kids who are afraid of the water, and I was really hoping that mine wouldn’t be. It is so important to me that the boys become strong swimmers. I was never afraid of the water, but I am also not the greatest swimmer in the world. I never took formal swim lessons, so while I can doggie paddle or freestyle my way through the water (thanks, Uncle Andy!), I don’t have great form and probably would never be able to compete in a triathlon.
So, Keith and I definitely plan on putting the boys in swim lessons. I am not entirely sure when we will start. My friend was telling me about a 13-month-old baby at her daughter’s swim school who jumps into the water and floats on his back on his own. He’d been taking lessons for a few months already. While that is impressive, I think my two can wait until they know how to walk before they learn how to swim, and still grow up to be strong swimmers. They don’t need to be the next Michael Phelps (as long as they can throw a baseball)!
So, Keith and I think we’ll start with swim lessons when the twins are 18 months old—about six months from now. Then, by next summer, they’ll have new skills with which to tackle the pool. This summer, though, I am going to let them enjoy the pool from the safety of their huge floats. Then they’ll get nice and tired and nap in their stroller so I can enjoy the pool from the comfort of my lounge chair. Everyone wins!
I’d love to hear other parents’ thoughts: Did you put your children in swim lessons? If so, at what age did they start? Are you happy with your decision?