Friday, July 30, 2010

All three of my kids could swim before they could walk. I suppose that happened because of my neurotic mommy fear that Jason would fall in the pool at the summer camp where we were working and wouldn’t be able to get out. I think that anxiety started when I was a lifeguard in high school, long before I had babies. A cat fell into the pool during the night and couldn’t get out. It was a bit disturbing the next morning when I unlocked the gate.

My mom never learned how to swim, so her motivation for me to swim was different than mine was for my kids. When I was five she signed me up for lessons at the Y. That was way before baby swim classes were invented so I was one of the youngest in my class. I was terrified. I’m sure it was painful for Mom to watch from the parents area because she was just as afraid as I was. It took several months for me to conquer my fear, but I finally did. Years later when I taught kids and adults to swim, I understood.

Swimming is one thing I don’t think can be introduced too early. It’s amazing what babies can do in water. They look like little tadpoles wiggling along with alligator eyes that don’t close when they come up out of the water. If they get in early enough, it’s almost like they’re going back to the comfortable environment they were in for their first nine months.

Baby Vivian and Jill are taking Mommy and Me classes at Morgan Swim School established 30 years ago in Virginia. Viv is the youngest in her class and the only one not afraid. In fact she gets mad when she has to get out of the pool. Maybe at 8 months she’s too young to be afraid or maybe Jill’s the only mommy who’s not afraid because she’s been in the water since she was six months old.

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