Swimming is one of those jobs you know you’re going to get as a dad. I don’t want to stereotype, there’s enough of that when it comes to dads (see here) but generally, swimming falls under the fathering remit.
For Father’s Day, Lis got me 8 swimming “lessons” (I use the term very loosely) for Eddison at a private local pool; I was buzzing, such a thoughtful present. Given that I used to love swimming as a kid, naively I assumed the lad would too…once again, I had to remind myself assumption and fatherhood are two conflicting concepts. The swimming experience for us was and continues to be a challenge…
Baby pools have to be hot. Obviously. For my first session, I may have overlooked that fact and worn trousers. Huge mistake. The place was like a sauna, on top of the pressure of being the new dad, I was also profusely sweating and looked like I’d done 8 rounds. Nothing like a positive first impression. Luckily a friend of mine was there and he gave me some Puddleducks pointers – one of which was don’t wear trousers.
I change the baby goodness knows how many times per day and luckily, Lis comes swimming with me. In my sweat soaked state, getting myself changed was hard enough, let alone getting a pair of neoprene shorts over a nappy onto a child that has the leg strength of a grown man. After getting ready, I was gassed!
Finally, we got into the water. In my calculated first-timer way, I hung towards the back and watched the intricate procedure of getting the baby in the water. As I handed my sweaty child to the instructor that first time and he kicked her repeatedly, I should have known Eddison was going to do what he wanted. Standard.
The first 5 minutes were amazing (except the songs – how are you meant to learn the words?!) and the baby loved the water. In typical fashion however, once we started doing something he didn’t like he booted off…and I mean he booted off. The swimming pool was filled with a cacophony of Eddison based screaming and I got the sympathetic “awww” looks. I hate those looks. We all know what they really mean. As it transpires, the lad likes to express when he’s not pleased in the water and you have to respect that! After some comforting but continuous sobs, we bailed out and dried off. Not a huge success but I wasn’t too fussed.
What I was fussed about however was the way in which the instructor lady said “maybe it’s best if he comes in with mum next time.” Now, it’s nice that she’s trying to help, but it was hard to bite my tongue. Eddison had a bit of a better time in his second session, but the instructor said the same thing again. Lis actually turned round in the end and set her straight, but the way the instructor said it made me feel shit. Swimming is a new thing for the baby and he’s just a bit overwhelmed/being a princess. By her saying it will be better if Lis swims with Eddison made me feel like I’d done something wrong. It also made me feel like it looks to outsiders like I don’t know my boy. Bitch please, I put in my time!
As I ate my commiseration KFC (which was worse than the swimming rested screaming) I couldn’t help but think I may have underestimated the difficulty of initially getting a baby in the pool – people make out it’s so easy!
So, swimming so far hasn’t quite gone to plan…I’m hoping Eddison cries less next week and the instructor is slightly less abusive about my (apparent lack of) parenting skill. Sorry to any of the other parents who paid for swimming lessons, not to hear my son cry – I’m sure he will chill out!