I love going to swim with my child. To enrol with Waterbabies was one of our very good ideas. We started last year in February, our daughter was 10 months old. She was one of the oldest in the beginners class but I think it was a perfect timing. I wouldn't be able to commit sooner with her non stop breastfeeding and the stress of being somewhere at a certain time. Smaller babies were enjoying themselves, too, but I had the feeling that her advanced age brought a better awareness of what was going on.
We planned on taking one course of 10 classes and see what will happen next, but we just carry on and probably will do for as long as it goes. She loves it, we love it and it will give her a skill for life.
What is fun about swimming with babies is watching their surprise after every dive, their excitement when they get back to the water after a week, the pleasure they get from chasing the toys or doing funny stuff in the water. When you let go of them sometimes, there is a surprise in their face, as it is when they are separated from you for a moment and passed to the teacher. They gain confidence and strength, too.
When we started our first course, we met new people and as usually great friendships weren't build. There is always a hope, when joining a baby group of any sort, that we will meet 'the one' - the little family with a child of similar age to ours, who we will get along. The truth is, swimming day is a busy day. There is lots of logistics involved regarding eating, sleeping, pooping, packing and transport. All day evolves around half an hour in the pool. And some parents have to run off to pick their older children, too. So the group never really stays together, it is every parent for himself.
I enjoy observe people and I can distinguish a special group which I call make up moms. There is at least one in every group (I usually meet one group in the changing room, one is in the pool ending when we get there and the next group is around the pool by the end of our class, plus sometimes there is new group getting ready in the dressing room, too). And most of these groups will have some 'flamingo'. They have their hair perfectly done, all nails long and painted (how do you change nappies with these?), and full face of make up plus I assume spray tan. The make up is something worth mentioning. There are eyebrows, eye shadows, eye liners, false lashes, blushers, lips, all the jazz. For a trip to the pool. Some mums try to avoid swim and hand the babies, in their cute little swim customs, to their equally coiffed dads (either hipsters or body builders). I still remember the look on the faces of two mums when, in our third class of the first course, we were told to bring our swim goggles as we will need them to dive with our kids. Some refused to go under water, some sent the dads, few braved a half hearted face dive. I realized that great deal of waterproof make up was involved, but they wouldn't risk the hair extensions.
There are few questions I never asked:
First and foremost: when do they get the time to do all of it?
Why do they bother?
Isn't it better to have fun in the water than show anxieties about your look so early on to your child?
Most of them are very pretty, I am sure they would look great without all the slab. Why is the look so important all the time? They are probably the women who worried about how they will look after labour, so they made sure their spray tan, hair, nails and make up are on during and after delivery. They stressed themselves about the post baby weight more than about their sleep. Their look defines who they are, I see it on people around me a lot and find it quite sad. It doesn't matter who you are and what you can do, you must look the part!
I like to make myself pretty. But I can not be bothered to do my make up every day. Not for running around the garden, going to the shop or park, or a local pool. I am confident in myself with or without my make up because whatever is or isn't on my face isn't really me. And when I had a difficult night it shows and I can tell you all about it if you want to hear. But I do wear my smile in case you don't .
I don't want my daughter's first memory to be of me sitting by the mirror or worrying about my shape. I would never let her sit in a pram in the nail salon and let her inhale all the fumes. I don't want her to think that she only matters if she looks good and if she is perfectly made up. And I don't want the world to expect it from her.
So lets hope that we will fit some good swims in our Summer while Waterbabies has a break!