After various failed attempts to turn Elphie into a water baby in Sardinia (I do not believe that the temperature of the unheated pool or equally unheated Mediterranean sea were quite up to her standards), she is now enrolled in swim school in an attempt to recreate some idyllic watery scene much like the cover of Nevermind without the weird money hook (or the penis for that matter).
Equally the swimming lessons are a time for daddy bonding, as the whole concept was the brainchild of Mark as a fun activity for himself and Fred.
So each Sunday we stumble out of bed in an attempt to head west to a shallow heated (33 degrees no less) swimming pool that looks like it is just sitting at the back of someone’s house. The lesson itself is half an hour, but there is significant faff either side to get all and sundry changed and at the end fed for their efforts – hence why I am required to watch as Elphie’s food source.
From the confines of the observation deck you can see but not hear – so you only occasionally get to experience the male voice choir version of “ring a ring o’ roses” that they are singing while escorting their offspring around the pool.
The main purpose of baby swimming seems to be to get them used to the experience rather than to get them to swim laps, with a lot of propelling them on their front or back around the pool. There is a survival skill which they might be building up to which teaches the baby to head to the sides if they find themselves in the water – as shown in the video below.
But if we are building up to that then I think a few more terms of swimming alongside some rather large leaps in Elphie’s cognitive skills might be required!
The piece de resistance of swimming lesson number two was submersion. Elphie was to be held at arms length and then brought carefully under the water for a few strokes before breaking the surface. This was to be the stuff of legends when Elphie demonstrated the dive and swimming reflexes by paddling around under water with eyes open holding her breath.
These reflexes lessen with time, with the swimming reflex dissipating by six months and the dive reflex lessening over the first year (although even adults can exhibit it to an extent).
Sadly Elphie did not quite take to it like a duck to water and came up screaming blue murder obviously believing Daddy was trying to drown her.
So I think we might have to hold off on booking our underwater photoshoot to get that perfect Nirvana pic. Shame.
Maybe hold off on the dunking for a bit though!