Georgie will be two next week, so it is with a slight sense of shame that I admit that before our trip to Suffolk last week we had never taken her swimming. We do have our reasons – a combination of her being terrified of water until recently (bath time is still 50% fun times and 50% scream fest depending on her mood!), James wanting to be there for her first time, and a variety of other boring excuses!
As we knew we were staying at a caravan park with a swimming pool, we decided our holiday was the perfect opportunity to take Georgie swimming for the first time. As neither of us wanted to volunteer to sit on the side with Lydia, we decided we may as well take her into the water with us too!
We found a chance to go on the Wednesday morning, only to discover that the park pool was shut due to a faulty boiler. D’oh! Happily, they offered to refund us if we swam at the local leisure centre so we packed up the car & drove down there instead.
At the leisure centre we bought Georgie some armbands – sized 0 – 12 months! The lady on reception took one look at our little miss and declared her too skinny for the next size up. Even these, the smallest ones they had, were able to slip onto her arms when already fully inflated, instead of having to be inflated once on her arms as per the instructions.
In preparation for the trip, we had popped over to Kiddicare Merry Hill & bought a Bambino Mio swim nappy & a swimsuit from their new Nutmeg range, which is full of gorgeous stuff at great prices (James had to restrain me in store. I was dragged from the clothing area as soon as we had the swimming costume in the trolley). Lydia had a sweet little Next costume from the bundles I bought recently, and we got a Huggies My First Swim kit with disposable swim nappies and a baby towel for her.
Having put off the moment for almost two years, it was with some trepidation that we headed towards the baby pool. I have to admit, the initial reaction wasn’t good. Both our girls cried as they entered the water, but the yelling stopped within a minute or two. As soon as she had adjusted to the temperature, Lydia was perfectly happy, and seemed to enjoy bobbing up and down in the water. Georgie took a little bit longer to start to enjoy herself, but as soon as she spotted that there was a slide she was clamouring to have a go (which she did. Over and over and over!)
James & I took turns with the girls; one of us held Lydia in the water while she chilled out, while the other splashed about with Georgie. The armbands definitely helped her feel more confident in the water as she quickly realised that they were helping to keep her afloat. While James took Lydia to get changed I even took Georgie into the big pool and she was holding onto my hands at arm’s length & kicking away – very brave for her very first time swimming!
Anthony, James’s dad, came along to watch & take photos. I’m so glad he came along as it is lovely to have the photographic record of their first time in a pool.
My parents were also on holiday in Suffolk last week & we visited them a their holiday park a few times (we got to have a go in their hot tub for a bit while they babysat on Tuesday – bliss!). On Thursday we made use of the pool there & took the girls swimming again while my Mum watched the fun from the poolside. They went from never having been swimming before to two plunges in the pool in two days!
Georgie was even more confident the second time around, and Lydia even more relaxed – if that was even possible. At one point I was just supporting the back of her head and shoulders while Lydia lay back & chilled out floating in the water. Even though there was no slide Georgie still managed to have lots of fun – she went straight into the bigger pool as their baby pool was teeny, and I was bouncing her up and down, in and out of the water. We even did “row, row, row your boat” with her sitting astride me rowing my hands as I swam on my back singing (and nearly drowning!)
I’m so pleased that both the girls enjoyed the experience so much, and we will definitely be checking out our local pools soon, and hopefully make it a semi-regular weekend activity to do together as a family.