As parents, we decided to get Ayla in the pool as early, and as much, as possible. I’ve always loved swimming. It evokes some great childhood memories of getting launched about by my Dad and having wrestling moves performed on me. Not to mention the dragon’s head, the waves and the ice cold diving pool at Sunderland’s Crowtree Leisure Centre. I was eager to begin shot putting Ayla around a pool. Although I was informed by my wife, with our daughter only 8-weeks-old, we’d have to maybe start by getting her used to being in the water to begin with.
I’ve always classed myself as a pretty strong swimmer and by strong I mean, I’ve only nearly drown a few times. My wife informs me this is NOT classed as a strong swimmer.
On our first holiday away together, when we were in the dating phase, Rachel was trying to teach me to float on my back. Yep, almost drowned. On our most recent holiday we tackled treading water. Didn’t drown, Daddoo 1-0 Water!
Despite this, I’ve always felt confident and happy in water as we were taken swimming regularly from an early age. Apparently, Rachel was a total water baby too and we both did all that stuff where you had to pick up the brick in your pyjamas so we wanted Ayla to be confident in water too.
We found a great sensory pool that catered for babies and toddlers every Friday morning which was perfect for both of us to attend with Ayla.
I’d heard a lot of stuff regarding babies and swimming. They can breathe underwater, they know to swim up to the surface, they automatically hold their breath underwater. With that, I took Ayla to her first swim expecting her to come out of the changing rooms like some kind of Mermaid.
Never did I realise getting yourself and your baby changed would be such a chore as well. Areas of the changing rooms we’re sectioned off for families by curtains so the limited room made changing even more difficult. I’d like to lie and say this was down to Ayla but actually it was just me, nearly falling over through the curtain naked on an unsuspecting fellow Dad. It was the first time I’d been in a sensory pool; I think I was more impressed than Ayla. It was so warm, like a giant bath. The pretty lights, soothing music and floating apparatus left me in a zen-like state.
We got Ayla in the water and she was totally chilled. Rach was a bit concerned in case she pooed as we’d been told that swimming nappies weren’t a fail-safe. With there being other babies in the pool at least we could try and blame someone else.
When Ayla was comfortable in the water, we decided to let her be completely submerged under water.
We took advice from the instructor at the side of the pool and in that first session we just went for it. I must admit it freaked me out when her little head went underwater and I started incoherently rambling “GET HER UP! GET HER UP! HER HEADS UNDER!”
Thankfully Rach stayed calm and this rubbed off on Ayla. She came up, happy as Larry and to this day it’s the first thing we do with her when we get into a pool anywhere. Thankfully she absolutely loves swimming and we would definitely recommend taking your little one to your local pool.