Last Saturday we took River to a Parent and Me class, or an early swim class. It’s for very young kids, ages six months (or 4?) to three years. The purpose is to help young children become comfortable in the water.
I figured that of all the infant learning activities on offer (most of which require very large investments) this was most likely to have a real effect. River has been fairly cautious around water. He enjoys bathing now, but it took him a while to get there. The few times we’ve taken him swimming, he was not overly enthusiastic.
I took him on a speedboat this summer and didn’t have an infant lifejacket (I know, horrible mother). Images flew through my mind of our boat crashing, of him flying out of my grasp, of him sinking, of the panic, terror and helplessness I would feel to see him go under, to not be able to reach the bottom. I understood why the McCann’s didn’t want to leave Portugal after their toddler disappeared. I thought that if he were to drown, I could never leave the lake. Something feels inherently wrong in abandoning one’s child, even when nothing can be done.
So, all these morbid thoughts made me think it would be great if he could become comfortable in the water. Better yet, if he could learn to swim earlier than I did (self-taught, I learned to swim underwater at age 8 or so, above water at around 12).
The class is only a half hour long on Saturday mornings. I wasn’t expected much. But it ended up being wonderful.