When Frog was first born, nearly 14 months ago, I knew one thing: she was going to be a water baby.
I didn’t know how I’d get on breastfeeding. I didn’t know what kind of bedtime routine we’d have. I didn’t even know if she would sleep in her own cot or in a moses basket at the side of our bed. The only parenting decision I had properly made was one involving water and swimming.
I always loved the water as a child. My summers were spent swimming in the sea and in rivers in France. I once walloped my head winning a backstroke race in a swimming gala. But the water was my friend – and it still is. The same is true of the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine – he was a lifeguard during university days. So it’s fair to say water is in Frog’s genes.
So on her second day in this world, the first day Frog saw her new home, we gave her a bath. And we splashed her face. Her reaction was something like this…
Her complete indifference to the water wasn’t surprising really, considering she’d spent the last nine months immersed in the stuff in my womb. And that’s the day I signed her up for swimming lessons with Water Babies.
Frog was only six weeks old when I first took her to a swimming pool. It was loud and colourful and very, very wet. But she loved it – for about ten minutes anyway, until she decided it was time for milk and a nap (can’t blame her really).
Frog was seven weeks old when she had her first swimming lesson. I was taught how to splash water on her face and dunk her under the water. It was terrifying, but amazing. So amazing, that nearly one year on we’ve gone swimming every week. It’s become a part of our weekend routine and Frog now waves her arms around with excitement when we pull into the pool’s carpark.
But the best thing about Frog’s love of the water, the thing that makes me so sure I made the right decision braving a cozzie in public only six weeks after childbirth, is the way it has helped her bond with her dad. I’ve already written about fact Frog’s relationship with the NLM was a slow-burner to start off with. Those early days were a struggle, he didn’t find her particularly interesting, because she didn’t do much, and his lack of boobs meant the feeling was very much reciprocated.
But the water has firmly cemented their friendship…