We’ve been working on getting Nyan to swim off and on since he was not much more than a year old, including lessons at an indoor pool in London, outdoor lessons here in Singapore, and lots of time in the ‘big pool’ (five feet deep) with Mommy and Daddy to get him acclimated. He never really took to it: he loves splashing around when someone’s holding on to him, and he’s fine in the baby pool (18 inches deep or so). But in the big pool on his own (with floating arm bands) or, god forbid, being dunked under water? Forget about it. HATED it.
Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had a breakthrough.
It started, perhaps, in early May when Nyan saw a snorkel and mask at a store and said he wanted it. So we obliged. He looks good, no?
Here he is, modeling the snorkel and doing a little dance.
But the breakthrough came a couple weeks later. We were all in the big pool, with Nyan’s arm bands keeping him safe from sinking. He was not assured, however, and was clinging to either Mommy or Daddy and would not let go. We got to talking to some neighbors who have a boy who’s about a year older than Nyan, and another son who’s 18 months old. The older boy was all over the pool, jumping and diving and swimming. Nyan watched him intently, as he does.
After a little while, the 18 month old was walking along the edge of the pool, also wearing arm bands, when he suddenly just jumped right into the pool and swam back to shore. No problem; he’d obviously done it many times.
Seeing an actual baby being so confident in the water must have triggered Nyan’s competitive gene, because not long after that, he climbed out and… jumped in! And kept doing it, over and over. First he insisted that Mommy or Daddy be very close to the edge of the pool, such that he basically was jumping on top of them. But then he demanded they move farther and farther back. Here, have a look:
That was after a couple of weeks of practice. As you can see, he’s now actually ‘swimming’ — or at least kicking enough to get some movement. This video is a few weeks old; he’s now using his arms a bit, and has also gotten quite good at laying on his back and kicking. The other day he ‘swam’ across the entire pool — maybe 50 meters — on his own.
(Also the other day, after we’d taken his arm bands off in preparation for going upstairs for dinner, the little man ran to the edge of the pool and jumped right in! We got to him within a second of course, so he didn’t sink or anything, but still — enough to give us all a little heart attack. Our new rule: watch him like a hawk if the arm bands aren’t on. And also lecture him extensively about how he cannot do that!)
In any event, he’s making huge strides of late. We couldn’t be more proud.
He still goes back in the baby pool sometimes, just for fun. Like here, playing with his pals:
And check out the video.
Notice about 10 seconds in how he gets some water in his face, and how proud he is: “Daddy, I go under the water!” Well, not exactly, but you gotta love his attitude!