In order to conquer Rookie Moms Challenge #27 – swimming with a baby – I signed Eli and myself up for indoor swimming lessons at our local Parks and Rec center, along with some friends who I convinced to join us.
On our first day, I was nervous: It was a place I’d never been to, and I needed to get myself as well as my baby changed by 9:30 in the morning. As we all know, having a hard start time is always difficult with a baby.
Soon after I arrived, I saw one of my friends and her son, and I immediately forgot all my worries – things are always better when you have a girlfriend around, am I right?
The challenge of the changing room
My friend and I went to change our boys in the family locker room (another first for me!) and we found a pretty large room, but it had barely any surface area to lay our boys on to change them. The floors were dirty with slush and mud brought in from outside, as it was still wintery weather in Minnesota, so we attempted to make our sons sit on a 12” deep bench as we shed our coats, hats and gloves off into our bags, while simultaneously pulling out our swim gear, and of course, keeping our sons from toppling off the bench all while never letting anything touch the floor. Well, except my shirt. That one bit the dust.
In the process of getting Eli dressed, I realized that his reusable swim diaper was a titch-bit too small (left over from last summer) but I shimmied him in there while promising to get him a non-wedgie pair in time for the next lesson. Eventually, we somehow changed out of winter and left the locker room looking like summer – but it was then that I realized I had forgotten sandals, so I tiptoed my way across the dirty locker room to the pool, mentally making a note to bring those next time.
We made it just in time for the lesson to start, and we began by holding our babies in a four foot-deep pool to let them get used to the water. Even though the water wasn’t cold, Eli’s teeth immediately started chattering and I could tell he wasn’t a fan. (Eli is not a wimp, he’s sensitive.)
We sang a few songs, moved the kids around in the water and did the typical things you think of with kiddie classes. Next, the teacher had us sit our kids on the edge of the pool where they were suppose to “jump” – aka FALL – into our arms. Eli was having none of it. He just sat there looking at me like I’d abandoned him when my hands were literally an inch away from his body. He looked around all nervous-like, watching the kids to our right and left gleefully jump fall into their mother’s arms so eventually I’d just pull him into the water and he continued to look at me like I was crazy.
After putting Eli through 10 minutes of what was clearly torture for him, the class moved to a different, more shallow, zero-entry pool, that Eli could sit and stand in. He liked this pool MUCH better. We sang more songs about guppies and turtles, and bubbles and dancing, and I didn’t know any of the words but just smiled and bopped my head along while thinking about all the crazy things I do for my son. At the end we had a bit of free time, so my friends and I tried to get our sons to interact with each other, but as usual with babies, they pretty much just ignored each other while us moms used it as an excuse to sit by the fountains and catch up on last week’s happenings.
On making my exit
Right in the middle of one of my many hilarious stories, the whistle blew and the class was over. We got out of the pool and went to grab our towels and I realized that I had only brought one towel – which was fine when I was holding Eli – but made it a little difficult while I was attempting to dry and change him and I was dripping wet and freezing. And yet again, I had to balance Eli on the stupid, most shallow bench in the world while getting us both changed.
It was seriously like that childhood game I used to play where the floor was lava and you couldn’t touch it or you were out. Except when I was a kid I never had to make sure a squirming, tired baby didn’t touch it as well. Or try to get dressed. Or try to take a wet, too-tight swim diaper off some seriously huge thunder thighs. Okay, so it was nothing like that. That childhood game was cake compared to this.
But somehow we did it and before we left I made three mental notes about a swim diaper, sandals and a towel, but then I added a fourth that reminded me that I’d forget them all because I’m now a mom and am no longer capable of remembering more than one thing at a time unless I write it down. Ahh, well. We survived, didn’t we?
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