It has been a while since I last blogged about our Swim Works lessons as we have been on holiday in America, but I have so much to tell you about!
Travelling long-haul with a baby for the first time was a real experience for us all – tough at times, but I learnt loads and loved the entire trip in all its craziness. Now, being home and seeing my baby so happy to be back amongst familiar things has been heartwarming. The look on his face when he saw our house after being away from it for ten days is a moment I will remember forever. He has been smiling more at everything he recognises (like the garden, the cat, his cot) and this has made me more than ever realise the importance of familiarity – how secure and comforted it can make our children feel.
For us, familiarity also comes in the form of being in the water. It has become our happy place. Rather than testing out tons of different groups and activities, swimming is something I prioritised from early on in his life because it personally had always brought me such relaxation and calm in the past. I now see that this has been so good for his contentment, on many levels.
This month, after having had tons of people (including strangers on the flight and abroad) comment on how chilled our baby is, I have been wondering if being in the water has had a massive role to play in this, in forming the part of his personality that is so at peace. Each week he recognises where we are and the familiarity (along with the general slow-pace of the session and tranquillity of the water) brings him happiness.
I am sure that the tranquillity of water has allowed us to bond in ways that I haven’t even realised yet…
Whilst being away in a new place and battling jet lag, our baby required much more attention and care than usual – being there for him through this encouraged me to see similarities between swimming and travel. We supported him in a new, unfamiliar country, and likewise, each week he sees me support him in the water. Our tiring but fun trip abroad brought us closer together and I now realise that our weekly classes have been doing the same thing – they offer time for him to observe his mother holding him safely in what could be an unfamiliar environment. I am sure that the tranquillity of water has allowed us to bond in ways that I haven’t even realised yet, ways that I will observe in the years to come.
Our last two weeks at Swim Works, as always, have brought so much enjoyment and so much relaxation. And, again, it’s the tiny tips that have stayed with me – why watching their mood is important; how we can hold them in the right way with the right pressure; how we can encourage kicking in different, gentle ways; how we can comfort them if they’re unsettled; how even our eye contact can make all the difference when offering guidance.
These details handed down by our instructor always stick with me and I share them with my husband every Friday evening. We also discuss the skills we are noticing our baby develop – he’s splashing more in the bath, picking up two toys at once to clap them together, blowing bubbles in his cup of water… things we have focused on in just one half hour on a Friday have made their way into our everyday lives.
Swimming with my baby, for me, has been so much more intricate and impactful than I could have ever imagined…
Through these structured lessons, a weekly swim together has become something so valuable. This value is often hard to explain to other people – because of its intricate and personal nature, it doesn’t do the entire process justice to just list out the techniques we have learnt. So, just know that swimming with my baby, for me, has been so much more intricate and impactful than I could have ever imagined, so much more soothing, so much more beautiful, and at the same time, so easy and effortless.
We have just two weeks left and I can’t wait to get booked in for our next term.
Swimming lessons courtesy of and photography by Swim Works