Swimming, Swimming, in the Swimming Pool

Here we go for round 3 of swimming lessons, inspired by Owen’s daycare’s Pool and Potluck party before Christmas, after which the boy would not stop asking when we were going to go swimming again…

He’s made it to the Sea Turtle class, still parented, which means I must don a bathing suit in January. Luckily, the pool is generally pretty warm, so it’s not the pool itself but the cold January wind on my wet braid that shocks me.

Owen is a sturdy fellow. One thing he has not yet figured out is how to float. He moves his arms and legs as though his life depended on it (which is good, considering that we’re in a swimming pool). If I let go of him, he sinks, though, regardless of how much he flails. The floating exercises are his least favourite activities, if only because he doesn’t seem to believe that one should ever be still in a swimming pool.

He’s getting braver, and doesn’t mind immersing his entire head, as long as someone is always holding onto some part of him. He still won’t jump off the side of the pool without holding onto a parent’s fingers. That’s OK. I don’t mind.

It’s a blur, but can you see the joy?

Just for fun, here’s what we looked like last year…
And two years ago…

Swimming Lessons

On Friday afternoons, Owen and I go to the pool for “Starfish” level swimming lessons. We did the same class last year, from January to March, when Owen was 7 to 10 months old. Then, as I do, I missed the next sign-up deadline, summer came, and then I thought, well, better to wait until the skills and familiarity he gains can be put to some use (i.e. in the summer).

This is last year:

So here we are again. Owen LOVED swimming last year, but this year, in his almost twos, he is bad at beginnings in general. He cries when he arrives at birthday parties right now. The first lesson was a little bit stressful because it took a lot of encouragement and distraction to keep him involved in the activities. Last week was better: walking the plank (walking across a floating mat and jumping into my arms) and going under the tunnel were both a big hit.

This week was the best so far. He fussed for 2 minutes at the beginning, but then loved jumping off the edge of the pool, doing floating puzzles, and blowing bubbles. I am convinced that he drank a fair bit of pool water, too, since every time he blew bubbles he also said “num-a-num.”

Another attraction the pool offers is that it’s full of babies. I don’t know if it’s the age, but Owen loves babies. He pretends to give doll babies water (de l’eau) in bottles. Last night, he tried to put a diaper on his stuffed dog. Anyway, he likes to wave at the babies and watch them swim, so it’s an added selling point, and when I tell him we’re going swimming, he almost always says “babies?”

The only embarrassing aspect of tonight’s lesson involved Owen’s non-existent bladder control. He peed on the floor as soon as I took off his diaper to put his bathing suit on, and then he peed again when I took his bathing suit off… I held a towel to the stream, which he thought was pretty hilarious. I dried the floor off as best I could, and even used some baby wipes. I guess that’s why people wear shoes in there? Oh well. Here he is after his lesson:

Our Adventures

We’ve been in Nova Scotia for about a week, and it’s been full of new experiences. We’re doing a lot of things we wouldn’t necessarily have done without a child, but having Owen makes us remember what it was like to be kids again.

We’ve been to the beach:

And we’ve seen dinosaurs (or at least models of them):

We’ve visited the Toyota dealer (I know… what fun!):

We’ve investigated pigs (who are all nose) and have been spooked by BAAAAAing sheep:

We contemplated the ferris wheel:

But in the end decided that the merry-go-round would be more fun:

The merry-go-round made Owen a little nervous…

until he started looking for Daddy:

Owen’s granddad taught him how to eat cherry tomatoes whole…

until he looked a little like a vampire:

And we went to a parade:

As you can see, we’re having fun!


I bought a whale pool for Owen last Thursday. It was white and royal blue. When you attached it to a hose, it sprayed water out of its blowhole. Owen LOVED it:

It took me half an hour to inflate (with my lungs!), at the end of which my cheeks ached. But it was so worth it when he splashed and squealed around. We used it Thursday. And Friday. And Saturday.

On Sunday morning, Owen and I came downstairs for breakfast. The pool was lying on the lawn deflated. That’s odd, I thought to myself. Maybe Duncan let the air out yesterday? I wish he hadn’t… it was so hard to blow up.

But then Duncan came downstairs.

“What happened to the pool?”

We went outside, expecting to have to search for a tiny hole (the pool came with a small patch). Instead, we met with whale carnage. It had huge, gaping holes EVERYWHERE. In the bottom, on the sides, where the hose attached, where the air went in, where the water went out. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“Did it get hit by lightning?” I asked Duncan. “Or do you think a coyote attacked it?”

We looked for evidence of fur. Whale pool CSI.


We think it must have exploded. We’re not sure how, exactly. It had rained the night before, so maybe it got overfull, but it’s a POOL – designed to hold, you know, WATER.

I searched the house, the recycling, my wallet, and finally found the bill. I thought that since it had been 3 days, they might consider refunding me. I dread confrontation, so my stress built and built all the way to Zellers as I anticipated the salesclerk’s accusations of whale maltreatment.

“Did you harpoon the whale? Did you let a coyote into your back yard?”

No on the first. Maybe on the second?

In the frenzy of my departure, though, I had forgotten my wallet. So I had to put Owen back in his car seat and drive home again. By this point, I felt like someone had taken the air out of me. Half the morning was gone. But I was determined not let the loss of the pool ruin the rest of my day.

In the end, we returned it successfully yesterday. The salesclerk didn’t even ask about the coyote, though she did eye us a little suspiciously and asked if we had overfilled it.

And it’s silly, I know, but I am kind of mourning the pool. It was a shiny, vibrant part of our lives for those three days. It brought us so much joy. And now it’s gone. Exploded. I mean, I would totally have bought another if this one hadn’t self-destructed in three days. But it did.

This is only tangentially related, but I get so frustrated with things that are accidentally disposable. Like plastic bibs that start to smell after a couple of weeks but self-destruct in the washing machine. Or sleepers with snaps that break. Or shoes that look like leather but aren’t and then crack (I have made this mistake twice this year)! If something is disposable, fine. But if it looks like something that is a relatively permanent purchase, even if it is inexpensive, then I feel like it should last until you’re finished with it.

I wanted to use that pool next summer. Instead, I am feeling kind of deflated.