W Liked The Pool

The local beaches closed the weekend before classes started here, due to budget cuts. So this weekend I was left without my usual option to take W to Mint Springs. Crozet does have a community pool, and it is open these last two weekends until Labor Day, so W and I went there this afternoon.

It has a wading pool, and we spent most of our time in that little section. Despite having a depth of no more than 1.5 feet at any point, W still managed to get himself stuck underwater twice. The first time, he was on the other side of the wading pool from where I was sitting, and he fell while walking away from me, so he couldn't see me when he was underwater. I scooped him up from behind, and soon all was well. The next time, he was walking toward me when he fell, so I got so see what he did.

I've noticed this pattern, since he's fallen at Mint Springs, also. First he'll stumble, and fall underwater. But then he stands up, and is fine for a second. But he doesn't take the time to reestablish his balance, and when he continues to walk forward, he falls again. This time, he'll get up out of the water, but not completely to a standing position. And when he falls the third time, he doesn't get up again, and by that time I'm over there to pull him up. Finally, being in the clear water of the pool and facing him when he fell, today I saw what he does when he stays underwater.

He swims.

He's got his eyes open, and his mouth closed, and he's moving his arms and kicking his legs like he's swimming underwater. I've just never let him develop this, since I don't trust that he'll figure out how to come up for air. While these underwater adventures are disconcerting to him, W doesn't seem to be that put out by them, either. I never make a big deal about it, I just pull him up and hold him upright until he gets his bearings again. He doesn't cry, although most times he wants to get out of the water for a few minutes, since he'll walk to the shore (or today, go to the edge of the pool and try to climb out). But then he goes right back in the water after a short rest.

Since I haven't been able to teach him to swim this summer, I signed him up for swimming lessons at one of the city pools. It's one of those "baby-and-me" classes, so I'll be in the water with him the whole time. I don't think the class aims to teach him to swim, either, but I figure I'll learn some water safety techniques at the least, and hopefully also learn some new ways to interact with him in the water. One thing I've learned from having the rotating cast of babysitters is how differently W interacts with different people, because they act differently with him. T and I get stuck in our little ruts, just doing the same things with W over and over, since that's what comes naturally to us and we're not endlessly creative. But seeing someone do something that would not occur to us can spur us to action, and liven things up for W. The swimming class doesn't start until mid-September, so we'll have two more weekends of winging it at the pool if the weather holds out. I'm bummed we can't swim during the weekdays anymore. All the more reason to look forward to getting our own pond finished. Then we can swim whenever we want, in any season. A hot day in April or October? No problem.