Lets face it, we rarely see the pictures of how tough parenthood is. Through the use of social media, people like myself normally post the highs of parenting, when actually there are challenges to parenthood as well. Having said that, if we constantly saw glum social media posts from the same people we may get sick of that too. I guess no one can win. Where I am going with this is that I have recently enrolled Oscar onto swimming lessons. Whilst we both absolutely love the time in the water together, we both hate (very strong word) the time after the lesson. You may be thinking, how do I know Oscar dislikes the post swimming part. Well the fact that he is screaming continuously after most lessons whilst I struggle to get us both dry, is quite a clear indication.
Scrap the rose tinted glasses over social media, here is a true account of swimming with a baby.
Whilst I deliberated so much over what time I should book Oscars swimming lessons for, the time I have picked (11am) still does not seem to be the perfect time for Oscar and I. He is either still napping at 10:30 or he is hungry. I know I am not meant to feed him within a certain time frame before swimming but a hungry baby is never a happy baby right? Admittedly, I have fed him before the lesson, even right up to in the changing room just before we swim (my bad).
During the first two lessons, Oscar was completely expressionless in the pool. He did not smile and he did not cry, this could of been because he was only four months at the time. Now Oscar has familiarised himself with the pool, he clearly loves being in the water as he smiles all of the time. He loves the nursery rhymes I sing to him and the way I throw him up in the air. I am not quite sure how he feels about being swept under the water but he never cries so that must be a positive thing. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the progress Oscar makes every week. His confidence has grown so much as he is constantly kicking his legs, splashing water with his hands and trying to dip his face in to drink the water.
Nevertheless, the fairy tale stops as soon as I get him out of the pool. Each lesson is 25 minutes long plus a 5 minute play time. I seldom stay for the play time as there is a shortage of adequate baby changing facilities which really infuriates me. Other parents have started to cotton onto this as well, so it is a race to the locker to get your stuff and then a scurry to a changing room with a baby changing station whilst holding a wining cold baby in your arms.
As soon as I put Oscar onto the changing station the tears start flowing ( the last week two weeks he did not cry, hoping it is the start of something new). I begin to rummage around in the swimming bag, dripping with water, whilst trying to stand next to so Oscar does not roll anywhere. Getting Oscar dry and dressed is actually easier than getting myself dry and dressed, even though he is crying and is inconsolable (even a game of peekaboo, which is his favourite).
Once Oscar is dried and dressed, he is normally still crying as he just dislikes the changing station that much. I attempt to get dressed. The bench that is in the changing room is at least 3ft away from the wall fixed baby changing station that by the way does not have any harnesses. Therefore, when taking the little one swimming expect your feet to get wet even after you have dried them 3 times already. Oh and also your trousers, the bottoms will get wet too from when you was standing there dripping with water whilst getting the baby dressed and dried. You will cover yourself in baby powder as you literally have no time whatsoever to dry yourself. My hair? I am lucky enough to rebobble it as I have to have my hands free in case Oscar rolls over. I look stunning after swimming (NOT). Once I get Oscar into his pram or car seat he is absolutely fine. It may not seem stressful but at times, it really can be. Oscar screaming for 15 minutes constantly is not very nice (and he is not a baby that cries easily). It would be much easier if I could take my pram into the changing rooms but at my swimming baths you are not allowed for hygiene reasons which I completely understand.
Nevertheless, I still go as Oscar enjoys the water time and also we encouraged Milo to swim from a young age and he now reaps the benefits and loves it. I am hoping that once he can stand it will be slightly easier as I will not have to safe guard him or maybe it will be even harder? I am not sure, can someone shed some light on whether it gets easier???
Lots of Love
P.S my ten necessities for swimming will be live later this week