- Family and Parenting
Favorite Memories Poolside
My Children The Growing Fishes
I've insisted that my kids take swimming right from birth.
I really loved taking the kids into the pool almost from the moment we got out of the hospital. Maybe it's because I'm an Aquarius, though I know I'm stereotyping there, or maybe it's because I was so bent on safety that I wanted to get my girls used to being in a pool sooner rather than later. I'd heard stories of kids who were afraid of the water, and I wanted to avoid that at all costs. While I still don't have a pool at my house, I try and get my girls into swimming lessons every chance we have; even though I don't have to worry anymore (presumably...) about them randomly falling into a pool that's not properly gated, or simply jumping into water that's deeper than they realize and panicking a bit, knowing how to swim is, for me, one of those "must knows" as you go through life.
I'm really glad that was one of the decisions I made before I had kids, to be sure. The girls and I have had far too many fun times in a pool since they first started taking to the water a little under eight and 12 years ago. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if I didn't get to watch them take swimming lessons or run into the lake so happily once the heat of summer kicked in.
It's Good For Them And Fun For You
Join Them For Some Exercise And Fun
There's definitely something to be said for getting in the pool as an adult instead of as a kid. Certainly, our sense of what's really "warm" has shifted. I go to the local pool with my girls and while it's Amazon Rainforest humid when I'm sitting there watching them from the bleachers, the second I dip myself into the pool I feel as though I've just entered the Arctic Ocean.
"C'mon, Mom!" the girls yell. "It's great!"
Or they just sit there laughing at me and the stricken look on my face as I ease my way in to what feels like frigid water. It depends on the day.
But being in the pool with my girls is an awesome experience. Most days, I'm completely exhausted, but when I get into the pool with them, it's like they are suddenly transformed. My 12 year old no longer sounds snarky, but there's a sparkle in her eyes as she tries to climb on me - a trick and a half lately, considering she's almost as tall as I am, but she also knows she is far lighter in the water than she is on land. It's one of the few chances she has, nowadays, to "relive" those moments when she was much smaller, and I could take her for a piggyback ride, or pick her up for a hug without blowing out my back. The two of us feel a bit ridiculous, because we become nothing but a tangle of legs and arms, but that's part of the fun; we're going back to a time where there's no real rush to go places or do anything - there's just us and a mutual love of the water.
My youngest tends towards being absolutely fearless in most pursuits, and while that might have been almost quite dangerous when she was really small, it's gotten a bit better now that she actually knows how to swim and is actually quite decent at it. She, too, tries to climb all over me and have me pick her up and (gently - don't want to break the lifeguard's rules!) throw her in the water while she spins under the water's surface back to me. Both girls also love to race their way back to me in the water, and sometimes we even have underwater races - we like seeing who can swim under the water for the longest. Thankfully, I'm still in decent shape although I'm in my 40s, so I don't completely embarrass myself, but the kids usually almost always beat me.
They also like using my legs as tunnels. With a 36 inch inseam like I have, there's a lot of real estate there and generally, they don't have to worry about somehow getting stuck somewhere along the way. Does it sound goofy? For sure! Do I care?
Not in the slightest.
See, I'm out there with my kids, having a blast and sharing some laughs before they really don't want to hang with me because I'm simply not cool enough anymore. To be fair, I think they like the fact that I'm not so cool, though they complain at times that I'm "Seriously. Not. Cool."
The thing is, I'm out there, in the water, not reliving my glory days (such as they were) and having fun with my kids. I sometimes just sit there and watch them try different things together, like seeing who can get closest to the bottom of the deep end (usually my oldest - my youngest doesn't have enough weight behind her yet) or one teaching the other how to do a dive. Seeing them trying to work together as they learn different things about swimming and playing in the water is probably one of the coolest things I've done with them over the years.
I'm just lucky that I'm able to get in the water and play with them while all of that happens.