Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Baby Swim Debacle

(This is a repeat from my other private blog, but it was such an experience I thought I'd share.)

So. It is now approximately two hours since The Baby Swim Debacle, and Gabriel is passed out upstairs, hopefully recovering and forgetting the awfulness that was Baby Swim. Let's just say that the first thing I did after he fell asleep was call Fairfax County Parks and Rec and withdraw from the class. I think my $75.o0 is much better spent on day-passes to the pool when we can go ourselves. Why, you ask? Well, I had a sinking feeling when we entered the women's locker room and all the morning swim high schoolers were still in there getting dressed. Thus it was very crowded, and the loud chatter was echoing through the locker room, and there was really not much room for changing a baby. On top of that, there was not one but many hairdryers going. Let's just say if I am upstairs drying my hair and Michael is holding Gabriel downstairs and I turn on the hairdryer, he freaks. So the uber-hairdryerness in the locker room was already stressing him out so he didn't want me to put him down to put the swim diaper on him. So I did that as fast as I could and headed out to the pool. It seemed quieter in there; he cheered up. We wandered slowly into the water. Things were okay. He seemed tentative, but interested, especially when we got a little floating duckie to play with. But then the class started. Our instructor: a large, loud, older, bearded man in a big black wetsuit, who wanted us to sing Old-Macdonald-esque songs over the crying of many of the class participants. Um, nothing against beards, but who thinks that a huge guy in a black shiny wetsuit singing nursery songs and waving his arms over his head is not going to freak out little babies?? Then, on top of all that, right next to the baby swim class a granny Water Aerobics class started up, complete with instructor with microphone and bouncy rock music for the ladies. At this point, I think Gabriel started to get unhappy about all the echoing noise and so the new experience of the water was just not cool any more; he disintegrated. Many of the other babies were doing this too; their parents were just smiling and bouncing through the water. I was slightly unsettled by this. I've been responsive to Gabriel's cries throughout his life for every other reason; why should I not respond when he is a bit scared and overwhelmed during his first pool experience? So we got out of the water. Lesson learned... I think the baby swim thing will be something I check out in a library book and go through at our own pace, slowly, minus most of the noise and the scary instructor.

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