In at the deep end

Swimming pools aren’t really my milieu. However, I’m keen that my kids grow up to be more confident and competent swimmers than their land-lubber of a father.

Neither of my parents can really swim, so consequently it wasn’t until I was about ten that I finally splashed my way far enough to earn my ten-metre swimming badge. (Do they still do those?) Truth be told, while I can still swim a bit, I’m about as natural and comfortable in water as a giraffe at a dwarf convention.

Say cheese!
Say cheese!

Thankfully Isaac, Toby and Kara all seem to enjoy our irregular trips to the pool, despite the two-parents-plus-three-kids equation being somewhat stressful for us. Although our latest sojourn yesterday was the least heart attack-inducing one so far.

With the boys, it’s interesting to note how they seem to pass through phases. Toby used to hurl himself fearlessly into the water with scant regard for his personal safety. But now that he is nearly four he is more circumspect at getting out of his depth, despite the support of encouraging parents and a flotation jacket.

Isaac went through a similar period at the same age. It was only really during our summer holiday in Tuscany that daily use of a private pool and the encouragement of a slightly older girl friend helped him gain that all-important confidence to swim those first few metres into deeper water. Now, with the help of some one-to-one swim coaching and further practice with us, he’s able to cover seven metres or so with relative ease and good technique. Yesterday he showed me how comfortably he can float face-down in the pool, and he’s also been showing off diving down to the floor to retrieve objects.

So that’s another tick in the box of things that he’s now better at doing than his old man, of which I’m hugely proud.

Kara, who’s still just shy of 20 months, has yet to reach the point where she really understands fear and danger, which means she happily hurls herself down any water slide the boys do. And even when she gets ducked under the water and gets a mouthful she still has a huge smile on her face and is immediately off again seeking more thrills. Of all our children she seems to be the most natural water-baby, and of course having two older brothers to observe and emulate will hopefully encourage her further.

We even left the pool yesterday with the above photo of the five of us – Heather and I reckon it’s the only one of all five of us that we own. Remarkably, we’re all looking in the same direction and none of the kids are pulling silly faces!

That was just the icing on the cake, though. The biggest thing is that all three kids enjoy our trips to the pool and – even though it means I have to drag my flabby body into an environment it’s distinctly uncomfortable in – I enjoy it too.