Swimming with a toddler
It had been absolutely ages since we’d been swimming with Marley.
And since I’d never actually taken him along to a public swimming pool on my own before, I thought it would be a nice thing for us to do.
When he was much smaller, my wife took him to a few parent and baby classes. But after he developed a bout of bronchiolitis, it was better for him to stay out of the water for a while. We just never really got back into the groove.
Admittedly, one or two slightly traumatic experiences put us off for a while. But at a friend’s birthday party just before Christmas, we had a splash around in a heated pool in this enormous Airbnb over in Windsor and he had a great time.
There were inflatable sharks and everything.
What you need (or not…)
So we prepared ourselves – as we do for most of our adventures – by packing a massive bag of stuff.
Rubber rings, arm bands, goggles, a swim jacket, plus the normal stuff like swimming shorts and a neoprene vest (with sharks on it).
A prime example of “all the gear, no idea”.
We headed to Tooting Leisure Centre, where I managed to get him in to his swimmers, the vest and the swim jacket. Most of the other stuff stayed in the bag…
We then headed to what they call the Training Pool (which I hope isn’t as full of piss as I feel like it is) and we plunged in.
We started out just floating around with me holding on to him. But I was amazed how quickly he grew in confidence and was soon leaping in off the side of the pool.
I couldn’t actually believe how much he was enjoying it. There was no apprehension whatsoever and he insisted I let him paddle about on his own as much as he could.
It was really funny just watching him adjust his body and figure out how to stay upright, and occasionally getting his face wet. It’s such a brilliant feeling to know he is learning new things all the time, and to help him do that is just an absolute joy.
A great day
We had a fantastic time, it was a really positive experience and one we both thoroughly enjoyed. He definitely earned his lollipop afterwards.
Side note: one of my favourite memories of being a kid was going swimming and getting something from the vending machine afterwards. I feel like if I close my eyes I can still smell the chlorine!
On the way home, I realised I hadn’t got a single photo of us at the pool! There are, of course, obvious limitations to taking photos in places like that, but we’d been enjoying ourselves so much I doubt I would have remembered even if we could have. It was quite a nice feeling, actually.
Beats a day in front of the iPad anyway!