Reluctant swimming dad - back to basics
Together with his bad memories of swimming lessons, Paul has been charged with taking his three-year-old daughter to swimming lessons. Will he become a swimming convert? This week a mistake in catchng Bea on a slide gets him thinking about the age a child should learn to swim.
I'm aware that my recent blogs have strayed away from Bea on to wider aquatics (and football) issues. This is just the way my mind works I'm afraid. But this week I want to pull it back a bit towards Bea, well toddlers and swimming in general really, and a bit of 90s grunge.
I am forever haunted by the three month old baby on the classic Nirvana album cover submerged and chasing a dollar bill. Apparently it is a real child, the son of the photographer's friend. Are we right putting children through that?
I had a fright earlier this week. I took Bea swimming outside of her weekly lesson. Yes I know what you are thinking: "he is moving to the wet side". I admit I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. As Charles points out in a comment on my last blog, swimming is great to bond with your kids.
But two days ago in my local pool Bea was on a toddler slide and I failed to catch her at the end. She was under the water for what felt like an age. I pulled her up with a film of water over her face. There was a pause that seemed to last hours before she finally took a breath and started crying.
She was shaken and out of sorts for the entire pool visit and at the start of this lesson she seemed slightly reticent to get in the water - or is it my imagination? It may be me that is shaken but it got me to thinking about lessons in general.
When is the right time for children to have lessons? I am forever haunted by the three month old baby on the classic Nirvana album cover submerged and chasing a dollar bill. Apparently it is a real child, the son of the photographer's friend. Are we right putting children through that?
One of the tweets sent out by www.twitter.com/homeofswimming this week had a story from Norfolk of a 16-day-old baby having a lesson. Should the baby be in a chlorinated environment at that age? After all Chlorine strips cell walls to destroy bacteria. Is this safe for newborns?
Meanwhile paediatricians from the US are calling for infants to have swimming lessons from one year. Kids aged one to four are less likely to drown they say and so should have lessons. As a parent I find myself caught between my ignorance of such matters and wanting Bea to swim.
I'm sure I am not the only parent who feels the messages being given out are conflicting. Sixteen days, six months, one year, three years, when is it best for my children to have lessons. I want swimming to save their life if it needs to, not frighten them off the water, especially not baths!
Five minutes into her lesson and Bea is happy, floating with her woggle and trying to catch the plastic floating fish. Maybe it is all in my mind. Maybe the Nirvana baby was happy and chlorine is no problem for a 16-day-old. I just wish there was more consistency in the messages we parents receive.