The pool where we are taking mama-and-me swim lessons requires that children younger than 3 be “double-diapered.”
Alice complies. But I consider it fairly remarkable that she doesn’t absorb half the water every time she gets in.
Miss Melissa says every baby she has ever worked with has cried when she’s tried to teach them to back float.
But not Alice.
After our first lesson, Miss Melissa said she likes to be the one to carry the babies out of the pool so that they learn to trust her and to associate her with relief.
But now, four lessons since, she carries Alice in. That’s how much this girl enjoys the water.
(It’s neat because the thought of swim lessons still kind of gives me nervous stomach – and I can swim.)
I know that next year she will be a different baby entirely. Perhaps a baby who is anxious of so much water. Who fights when you try to coax her onto her back.
Alice does this thing when she’s excited: She goes a little rigid and sticks out her arms and legs and twists her wrists and ankles. And that’s what she did this evening when she saw Miss Melissa walking across the deck for the start of our lesson. She splashed when we asked her to. She kicked her legs like we had been trying to get her to. When we showed her how to blow bubbles, she stuck her mouth in the water and gulped. But it’ll come.
She smiled and smiled. And she reached her arms out to touch Melissa’s face. That’s her signature, her first – and crushingly sweet – sign of affection.
So, I know that the child Alice will grow up to be is not going to remember her first summer swimming lessons.
But the baby she is now really really likes them. And that’s enough.