Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Swimming sagas

Sticky had her first swimming lesson today. She spent it looking at all the other babies and I spent it looking at all the other the Mums. I'm pretty sure she wasn't thinking the same thing I was!

Ahh swimming - I've always hated it. From an overweight kid who was told I swam like a toadfish, to an early adult who nearly drowned having an asthma attack. Water and I have never been friends. I've actually came close to drowning 3 times in my life so needless to say, I learnt along time ago to avoid it. Alas, as a Mother, I can no longer afford such selfishness.

Given water plays such a large part of our culture, Sticky needs to know how to swim. And, she has the right to develop a love of water if she wants to. God knows she won't get it from me!

The sad fact is drowning is one of the top killers of children under 5 years old in Australia. And given my parents have a pool, a pond and live on a canal, I take my responsibility of ensuring Sticky's safety around it very seriously. So off to lessons we went.

First off, I had to get new swimmers. Of course I managed to do that yesterday and wasn't at all surprised the limited availability given it's winter! But that was ok. Buying swimmers is traumatic enough at any time, let alone 5 months after giving birth, so I wanted to get in and out as soon as possible. 

I flat out refused to pay $230 for swimmers when I didn't even pay that much for my wedding dress so the first ok looking pair I found was immediately put back. I tried on another pair but realised horizontal stripes were not my friend and put those back. That designer should be shot!

But, a very helpful shop assistant came to my rescue and suggested a tank top and bottoms. I managed to find one that didn't look too horrific and the job was done. The trauma was relatively short lived.

So off we went - Sticky in her red and white polka dot swimmers and me in my slimming black. As we waited to go in, Sticky was mesmerized by watching the older kids in the pool. I can understand why - it's the first time she's ever seen one! I wonder if she was thinking it was just a very large bath!

I was looking at the other Mums, trying oh so hard not to compare my bodies to theirs. Of course, the human condition meant I failed. I was impressed by the mother who had a 5 month old and was comfortable wearing a bikini. I was amazed at the woman who had a 4 month old and a perfectly flat stomach. I was relieved when I saw a woman with a 4 month old who wore a large sun shirt. There were some of us that were still waiting for our bodies to go back to normal, or in the process of accepting they probably never will. 

But, snaps for me, I left that all behind the minute I stepped into the pool. That time was for Sticky and she needed my full attention. She didn't care what I looked like or the colour of my swimmers, she just needed reassurance that I was there to support her in this very vast ocean. 

We bobbed up and down, sang songs, rolled on the mat and cruised on the kicking boards. She loved it! She was looking around the whole time, wondering what it was all about. She was checking out the other babies and trying to figure out what they were all doing there. Her favourite part was when I lifted her in and out of the water. She had a grin from ear to ear!

I very quickly got over myself and left all my petty worries at the pool - not to be picked up next time we go. I don't want to pass on my insecurities to Sticky and she was such a good teacher, reminding me that those insecurities really aren't needed or wanted in our lives. So, other than the fact I can't seem to get rid of the chlorine smell on me, I'm looking forward to going back and teaching my daughter to be a confident swimmer. Who knows, there might just be an Olympic medal in her future!

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