New Mom Wits
I like diving into topics that interest me. (Ha! Pool puns.) Pre-baby, I took it for granted that I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to swim confidently in deep water. With our newborn though, I wondered, “how do we do that?” Sponge baths were not going to take us there, and I was afraid that if I waited, my caution would become overly-cautious and lead to fear.
I googled all over the place looking for an infant swim program that met my very specific criteria: something parents could do at home; something that was developmentally appropriate for infants (read: not controversial.) It makes sense… there are classes and information for new parents on everything under the sun. Surely someone had thought of a bath time swim program before me. Nope.
I listed my criteria and variations of them into the search engine. I wanted my baby to have a gentle bonding experience with a mindful teacher. I didn’t want to pack a swim bag, drive to swimming lessons, shower and change in a cold locker room, or feel guilty about sacrificing naps to get to lessons OR running late to class. Enter the bath tub. But my searches led me to dead ends.
Finally, a lightbulb sparked above my head. (Likely while sitting on our couch in sweats and an unwashed bun, in between nursings, binge-watching Gilmore Girls, and barely surviving my haze of sleep deprivation.)
I would orient Molly toward swim lesson readiness using all of my experiences from my life as a swimmer and teacher. I’ve spent my summers in the pool. I swam competitively as a kid and on the varsity high school swim team. I taught swimming lessons every summer since I was 15 and taught first and third grades in a classroom for the better part of a decade. I have a K-8 teaching certificate and a master’s degree in education.
I was in the habit of seeking out methods of practice that benefited kids, but this approach wasn’t being talked about. I could just do it myself… and maybe turn that information into something helpful for someone else someday.
Then and there, I dedicated Molly’s bath times to laying a foundation for swim safety through play, a tiny bit of coaching from me, and tons more research on early childhood on my end.
I wrote our own map. Palm to forehead.
Now Molly is older. When we’re at the pool or lake, she engages with the water like she’s greeting a best friend. I revel over how we’ve achieved that with a super simple approach.
I’m hoping that, because of Pool Mom, other mamas have the shortcut I was looking for to squeeze a little more purpose out of their baby’s bath time, too.
My goal remains (having originated from super post-partum hormones): introduce children to the water by applying the best instructional practices from the fields of education and parenting.