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.

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