Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This is a long story. I suggest you skim.


Last Saturday, I suited JP up in his swim diaper and Hawiaan-looking Izod swim trunks (bought on eBay!), squeezed myself into my bathing suit, and signed us up for an 8-week baby and me swimming class. Patrick has a friend at work who told us about it. She has a 15 month old baby and they've already done it once.

It was a weird morning - we had to get out of the house by 8 a.m. to register for the class, and while we were getting up and getting dressed, there was quite a bit of thunder. While walking to the car it started to rain, then it poured, and on the way to the pool, there was lightning and thunder too. It's only a 15 minute drive to the pool (during which the baby was fascinated by all the noises outside), and by the time we got there, the rain had stopped.

I put JP in the Ergo Baby carrier and we waited in line with all the other moms, there to sign their kids up for swim lessons or Jr Lifeguards or whatever. There was one woman in front of me with her mom, and a little girl. Man, that grandma was harsh. The woman and her mom were Hispanic, and the little girl, probably around 6 or 7, had sort of frizzy hair, pulled back into a ponytail. The hair around her face was kind of falling out of the elastic band, and it was a little messy. She looked like every other 6 year old, though, and it wasn't a big deal. Also, wasn't she about to go swimming? So who cares what her hair looked like? Grandma kept messing with her, even though the little girl asked her to leave her hair alone. Then, the little girl was standing by a big rack they had in the lobby, with all these local newspapers and magazines in it. I guess she put her foot on the bottom of it, and Grandma told her, "Don't climb on there! That thing could fall on you and cut your head open."

Okay, maybe it could. A cut-open head would be a very bad thing, and avoiding it by whatever means possible seems like a good idea to me, too. Fine. But the warning didn't suit the crime. I didn't see any indication that the little girl had plans on climbing on the rack. She was just placing her foot on the lowest rung. I don't know these people, maybe the little girl is accident prone... or maybe that grandma was just mean. I kept watching that lady and the little girl, and the way the mom didn't really do or say anything, even though the little girl got quieter and quieter (she had been talking animatedly to her mom about swimming when I first saw them) the longer we waited.

Anyway, when they finally opened the office, and it was our turn to sign up, I still hadn't seen Patrick's friend, but there were still 7 spots left in the class. The line was pretty short, but slow. When I was leaving, I saw her at the end of the line with her son, B. I didn't know for sure if it was her but she somehow recognized me. We made plans to meet up later.

I took JP home for a quick feeding (the class was supposed to start at 11, and by the time we registered, it was 9:15), and then at 10:30 we headed back. I had no idea how it was going to work, with the clothes and changing, and afterwards, getting wet and everything. I took the baby into the ladies' locker room, and set him down, surrounded by my diaper bag and a big towel, on the counter where the girls probably dry their hair, and took off the romper I'd dressed him in over his trunks. He wasn't as wiggly as he usually is (he was more interested in looking at himself in the mirror), and then I kept one hand on him and took off my own clothes, which were over my swimsuit. I need to bring a bigger bag next time, because cramming all that stuff in the diaper bag meant I couldn't reach anything I wanted easily. It wasn't ideal - but other than bringing him in in his car seat, there's no good way to do it that I could see.

Then I ignored the "shower before entering pool" sign and went out to the pool.

It's a giant, indoor pool. In fact, there might even be 2: I have no idea. Patrick's friend was already out there, with her little boy. She is skinnier than I am, and he is bigger than JP. The pool's website says the water is between 80-85 degrees. Maybe it is, but it sure felt colder. We got used to it fairly quickly, though.

The girl teaching the class was the same girl who registered us - she has a fruity name (literally fruity, I'm not being insulting). At the registration office, I thought she was kind of unprofessional but in the pool she was sweet. She was very young (in her early 20s), but she had a daughter of her own, maybe 3 or 4 years old, who was in the pool with her and who demonstrated for us. There were about 9 or 10 of us, some moms, some dads. JP wasn't the littlest - there was a little baby girl with her daddy who was probably 6 months. There was a two year old little girl who could totally swim - the mom kept throwing her in the water and she would splash across the pool. Patrick's friend and her baby kept close by - I was clearly nervous, I guess. B really seemed to like the water: he was very vocal, and splashed a lot.

We got started just by walking around the pool with our babies, letting them splash and touch the water. I had JP in a pretty tight grip. He was cool - he was looking around very intently (it was noisy in there! Besides us, there was a group of Jr Lifeguards in the other pool). Not super excited, but not freaked out, either. He went along with it all and didn't cry. I showed him how to kick his legs and he splashed the water a little. I kept his face high and he (of course!) never went under. After awhile, the teacher had us all get in a circle in the water, and we sang a couple of songs (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and The Wheels on the Bus), and then she had us place the babies sitting on the edge of the pool, and we sang another little song (I forget the words) and on 1, 2, 3, we jumped them in the water. Again, he didn't get too excited. I was probably annoying the other moms and dads because I sounded excited: "Kick your legs, JP! Whee!!" Still, it was fun. It's only a half hour class but I'm so out of shape and fat, that when we got out, my legs were tired. So I guess it's good exercise for me, too.

The Jr Lifeguards got out around the same time we did. Patrick's friend was faster than I was getting into the changing room, and she was able to rinse off at a shower before the Jr Lifeguards. I was too slow, and I guess they all decided to wash their hair. I didn't want to wait around forever, so I got JP changed out of his wet trunks and swim diaper in the same place I'd gotten him ready. I hadn't even brought dry clothes (bra, panties) for myself, so I just pulled my clothes on over my wet bathing suit. My brother had come to watch the swimming, so I met him outside the pool. He followed us home, and watched TV while I rinsed JP and myself off in the shower. Then we went to lunch!

We go back again this Saturday. I ordered a bigger bathing suit for myself on Saturday night at Lands End (actually, I ordered two - one is a "tankini." It's my first 2 piece in about 35 years, so we'll see how that works out. It's all cute and ruffly: not me at all!). I had orignally planned on wearing a pair of shorts over my bathing suit but the pool rules don't allow any non-swim clothing. I ended up breaking the rules anyway by wearing a sports bra under my suit - I didn't want to flash anybody. I hope the new suits (or just one of them at least) arrive soon, and that they work better. Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I hope JP gets used to it and acts like he's having more fun next time. We'll see.

Here's a screen shot from the video Dan took:

Poor quality photo hides my large ass, right?

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