I and Number One Son have gone swimming almost every week since he was three months old. The only longer intervals have been the two month cycle of colds he had when he started the nursery and some occasional travel and illnesses. He likes water and I feel that apart from the gentle exercise it gives him an important skill that may turn out to be lifesaving.
For a long time one had to support him, which became more straining when he grew bigger. A mother asked me recently when Number One Son learnt to hold himself in a right position with arm floats and I suddenly could not remember. This is apparently a normal feature of childrearing that you cannot pinpoint afterwards the key developments unless you write them down or memorize them actively. Any way, he definitely was moving independently last spring even if learning to use his legs took quite a while. By our summer holidays he was ready to face his grandfather’s swimming pool in Italy.
This swimming pool also turned out to be the feature that reconfirmed him that swimming is a nice idea. Just before leaving for holidays we had an incident at the swimming pool that left him clearly shaken and he did not want to enter the deeper water at all for a while. He had learnt to swim with the arm floats but did not realize that these kept him on the surface. Once when I turned away just for a couple of seconds to grab the arm floats, he had walked down the stairs to the baby pool. When I turned back, I could only see the top of his head gently bumping up and down from the water. Even if I managed to lift him up to my arms almost immediately, he was upset but continued to swim that day. However, he apparently had nightmares that night and the swimming was not the same the coming weeks.
Luckily, we headed to the Luningiana area in northern Tuscany and spent almost a week and half in extremely hot temperatures. The sunny and hot weather made the pool attractive and we spent long afternoons in the water. They were new environs and there were new water toys to play with so after two weeks in Italy – even if it started to rain for the last three days – he was won back. Now he also realizes that he cannot swim without the arm floats and shoots towards them the first thing at the pool.