Photocredit: Peasap on FlickrNow that my big girl, R, is 3, I have enrolled her in swim class. I waited until she turned 3 for a few reasons.  I was told that children learn fear around that age; and, even if they were not afraid of the water before then, they may then become fearful.  But, my main reason is because I don’t have to get in the pool with her.  Instead, I can simply watch dryly from the deck with my little girl, M, who is 1-year-old, at my side. This prevents me from having to pay a sitter or find a convenient time when my husband is home to watch her.

My friends often talk about being “behind” on their children’s swimming skills. Here, in San Francisco, it is popular to enroll your child at a swim school like La Petite Baleen before babies can even crawl.  You will often hear moms comparing ribbon colors.  Some take it a step further and get private lessons because they felt their child was not excelling.

I must say, even though I don’t get in the pool, children’s swim class is a lot of effort for only 30 minutes of splashing around.  R insists on getting dressed in the locker room, instead of at home, because she saw it in a book that we read together.  So, we pack her Tinkerbell bag (just a note, the Dora backpack is only for ballet), load the girls on the bike, ride down to the pool, park the bike, unload the girls, rush in, and get R’s swimsuit on in time.

I have also witnessed 2.5 year olds swimming independently across a pool and, must admit, was very impressed.  But, this still did not convince me to hand over my credit card and give a swim school permission to charge it each month until we decided to quit — with 30 days notice, of course.  And does attending swim class at age 3 really matter so much?  I like to think not.  We’re in it for the fun!

R is taking lessons at the YMCA, instead.  It is close to home and costs almost half as much. Is it as good of a program?  Some parents love it, some parents hate it.  Everyone has an opinion.  I honestly think it is going to depend on the child’s disposition and the instructor.  I also figured I’d see how R takes to the water before making a big commitment.

Growing up in land-locked Pennsylvania, I did not take swim classes.  Like my childhood friends, I went swimming at the local pool during the hot summer months and splashed around.  I never did laps – I simply learned not to drown.  My husband, on the other hand, had proper training, but just never took to it.  When he came to see R one week, I thought he was going to have a panic attack — the heat and smell of the pool brought back bad memories of swim class of his youth.  He is still talking about it.

But me, I love to swim.  It is an exercise of choice (along with lifting weights and yoga).  When we moved to San Francisco 10 plus years ago, I got into triathlons and I made it my priority to learn how to swim – properly.  I really wanted to be able to go across the pool and not feel like I couldn’t breath and was about to drown.  I like to attribute my skills to, besides dedication, the fact that I am a water sign (Cancer).

And with that theory, I respect that this may not be my earth sign big girl’s (Virgo) strong point like her dad (Taurus).  But her little sister (Scorpio), who screams with delight when she sees the pool, just may be a natural.  I do think it is important that children learn water safety, but whether or not they become captain of the swim team may just be determined by the stars!

Do you have a swim class story or want to tell us about what kind of activities the children do in your part of the world?  Share it in the comments section below!

This is an original World Moms Blog post by A. Roselyn.  Beep if you’re in San Francisco and see a mom on a bicycle with a double child seat and Dora backpack.  That may just be her!

Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/peasap/825059658/.  This photo has a creative commons attribution license.

Angela Y (USA)

Angela Y. is in her mid-thirties and attempting to raise her two daughters (big girl, R, 3 years; little girl, M, 1 year) with her husband in San Francisco, CA. After spending ten years climbing the corporate ladder, she traded it all in to be a stay-at-home mom! Her perspective of raising a child in the city is definitely different from those who have been city dwellers all their lives, as she grew up in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) surrounded by her extended family. Angela Y. and her husband are on their own on the west coast of the United States — the only family help they receive is when someone comes for a visit. But, the lifestyle in San Francisco is like no other for them, so there, they stay! This exercise conscious mom is easily recognized, especially when she is riding around her husband-built bike with two seats on the back. And, when she’s not hanging out with the girls, you can find Angela Y. in the kitchen. She loves to cook for her family, especially dessert, and then eats some herself when no one is looking! Sneaky, mom!

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