Toddler Tales: Swimming With The Baby, Part Two

03/10/2011 00:20 | Updated 22 May 2015
Baby Diana in swimming costume ready for her swimming lessonsSwim class, round two. Just as hard, but the outfit is even cuter...

I tried the whole weekly swim class with baby thing before, when baby D was four months old.

I ended up missing half the classes, either from work, laziness, being exhausted or Diana not feeling well, which meant my average payment was about £31 for a 30-minute class, and on the days I did make it to the pool, I wanted to cry. D spent the whole time wriggling, trying to fling herself on the floor, screaming and sobbing, and that was before we even left the changing room.

But, like any masochist, I'm back for more. Actually, this is probably less masochism and more, "How do I think of inventive new ways to tame this wild, constantly moving toddler beast otherwise known as my child?" Because the truth is, the playground and the one o'clock club (if I can ever face it again after what happened last time) just aren't enough anymore.

Happily, swimming the second time around is easier. Firstly, I've booked into a pool that's walking distance which simplifies things for me (i.e. unlike the last place, I know how to get to this one without help from a fellow mum) and is also strategic (the walk home provides the perfect atmosphere for baby D to fall asleep after swim class).

Secondly, I've invested in a new swimming costume for D (the neon green neoprene scuba suit, though meant to fit babes up to 18-months-old, failed to Velcro shut over D's ever-growing tum). The new outfit is at once more frilly and feminine while still firmly planted in boy's colour territory, like all of my choices for Diana (I haven't yet delved into the psychological weirdness, if any, of my need to have her in navy daily).

Diana is more reluctant in the pool than she was in the olden days. She is clingier now, and happy so long as she can hang onto me for dear life. Any attempt to put her on her back or front to "swim" results in a mini-breakdown. She mainly spends the class stuffing plastic ducks in her mouth and treating it like bathtime with friends, while other babes go underwater and jump off stuff.

While she doesn't seem to be on any kind of Olympic trajectory, it's a good way for babe and mum to spend a morning, sanity intact. And since I'm now managing to show up to class every week, it probably only entails a loss of a less-exorbitant (but still really quite expensive considering it's over in 20 minutes and all you've done is hug your child in a pool, which is easily achieved at home in the bath for free), £11.

The changing room is still a source of stress, nowadays because Diana wants to walk around and explore, which is not ideal considering the floor is wet and easy to slip on for even a seasoned walker, let alone one with six-weeks' total walking experience. After D did slip, I decided to imitate a more experienced mum with an older child who placed him in the locker as she was getting ready, which prevented his ability to run and fall and also gave him an exciting new project to work on (banging the sides, closing the door and trying to stand up in the locker).

The results are guaranteed. I'd especially recommend a corner locker since it is even more difficult to escape from.

Stuffing your child into a locker may sound like a rather brutal form of parenting, but take note. It's a lifesaver at the pool and all the cool mothers are doing it.

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