Sep 18, 2011

Swim class

I have romantic notions about swimming. I love to swim. Always have. Some have called me half a fish. When my parents took us on holiday somewhere warm, it was difficult to get me out of the pool: my mom had to bribe my brother and I with ice cream. Nothing else would stop us from playing around in the water. 

As a teen, swimming became half play and half exercise. Out of boredom, I'd swim an easy kilometer in the pool once my homework was done after school. Mom petitioned that the private club in Seoul keep the pool open for the month of September, when it was still nice out, just a bit more chilly than the hot summer months. I was in it daily.

So swimming was always going to be in the Plan for baby-boy. We braved our first attempt when he was just six weeks. Looking back at the photos, I wonder if he had any idea what was happening to him. He was half asleep when we walked in the pool area and naively handed him to some crazy Russian lady who performed baby yoga on him. This totally freaked me out and I begged her to be extra gentle with the little boy I just spent 9 months growing and six weeks getting to know. The swimming part itself was fine, but consisted of several submergings. In itself, not such a bad thing, but as a previously qualified swim instructor, more than 3 per session is a no-no and this Russian was rather liberal with them. Once baby-boy's arms turned blue, I insisted in taking him out of the pool and into the hot tub. He took it all in his stride, but I was so freaked by the experience, that I left the swimming card off the table. Besides, summer was nearly here and we'd be outside a lot.

With the (near) arrival of fall, I decided that swim class deserved another go. But a different class at a different place. A friend told me she took her son to this particular one, and I signed us up. The water is warm enough for babies, and the pool is large. The place seemed organized about their classes, listing lots of them on their website. All positive signs. 

I don't know why I had romantic notions about this being a quiet and intimate experience with me and my son. I should have realized that by the sheer number of swim classes listed, this was going to be a noisy place. And busy. It was our first morning today and off we went for our 9.30 am class. We arrived a bit early to ensure everything was in place, and baby boy was changed and ready. We were told to sit on the bleachers on the side while other classes were finishing. I think there were at least eight classes in progress. About five for little tiny kids in the toddler pool, and another three or four in the big pool for larger kids. Then there were the three free swim lanes with people plodding along. 

All in all, this added up to quite a bit of hubbub and baby-boy was wide awake during what is normally his nap time, sucking it all in. We had a lot of fun when it was our turn. No tears, not even when he was on his back (we practice that in the bath). And even a delightful loud clatter when we got to the up-and-down out-and-in of the water bit.

So I think he's gonna like it. But, man oh man, I've never seen so many people in a "family" changing room. Next time, it's daddy's turn to take him and I think they might be better off in the men's changing room.

Sep 10, 2011

The end of summer = the start of winter

It's barely September. Well, ok, the 10th. I've been a bit slow to catch up on my blog. But still. Summer will officially last until the 21st. Yet, the mommy facebook group I'm part of (and love being part of), has started a series of conversation threads around booties, snowsuits and other winter items for babies and toddlers. 

I find this depressing. Of course, I'm grateful for the tips on where to buy a $50 snowsuit instead of forking out $150. But still ... it's summer. Come on people! 

It goes to show how Montrealers think. There is winter, and then there is the construction season (that's the joke anyhow). Of course, there is summer. Spring and fall are extremely short in this climate, and yesterday, through my polarized sunglasses that highlight yellows and reds, I spotted the first autumn colors. Too soon for my taste. But not too soon for Montreal. Within the next two weeks, all will be gloriously yellow, red and brown. And following that, mostly a dull leafless gray until well into next April or maybe even May.

So my fellow mommies are right to start thinking about winter. But I can't help but feel that it's a bit like thinking about Xmas in August (... i.e. the UK ...). It's just so bizarre when you're wandering around in the still sweltering heat to go buying snow suits.

We did, of course. I couldn't pass the opportunity for a good deal, and we found a cute suite for baby-boy. He even had to try it on in the store. He must have been hot, poor little fella. It's still big on him for now, but he may well grow out of it before the winter is over. That's what you get for living in a place that has 6 months of winter! Still, there will be more sales in Jan/Feb.

Hubby says baby clothes are my weakness. I will admit to it. Kind of like an addiction. I suddenly realized that over the last week I've somehow managed to get at least 5 kinds of "thick comfie pants" for our little one. I doubt he needs that many. And he will grow out of them quickly. But I couldn't resist.

We have also invested in an upgraded (larger) baby car seat -- still rear facing, following the Canadian guidelines to do so until the baby is at least 2. But it's a convertible at least, and can go forward facing afterwards, and may last till he's 4 or 5. Not a bad investment, and I wish I'd known about it before hand because we really didn't need the "infant" one. Even so, the infant car seat was portable and we used it plenty.

Other news: we are in the process of buying our own place. Fingers crossed that in a couple of days' time all the paperwork will finally be done (Quebec == paperwork, I find). If so, then we'd be moving some time in the next few months. The new place is nice, with a gorgeous kitchen and bathroom (that's what sold us). But also a bit smaller than our current square footage, so we're planning to downsize. On the list to go: baby things we no longer need, and a bunch of old furniture. I'm also insisting this time, that we be very selective with our wall decoration ... too many inherited paintings and pictures that are just crappy. With a hubby who's a talented photographer, we ought to be able to find SOMETHING nice to put on the walls, right? 

Stay tuned for more on the move. And any tips on how to move inexpensive, within one block of your current home, are more than welcome!