no soup for you!
Jack and I got back in the pool on Monday, after a bit of a harrowing journey (i.e. bad directions + a tired mummy = circling many roundabouts several times while trying not to swear). Upon arrival, the 103-year-old instructor said to me, "Do you want a vest and armbands [water wings]?" which I declined. She looked slightly taken aback and said "But all the children wear them" and again I declined explaining that we didn't need them. I am of the opinion that babies and toddlers need to understand that they must do something (like kick their legs and move their arms) in order to prevent sinking to the bottom, as opposed to doing absolutely nothing yet still being able to float on the surface. Jack never used them before and the people who ran our last classes didn't promote their use. Call me a mad hippy, but there you go.
We swam around for a bit, mostly chatting to my friends and catching up, and then we were broken up into groups. They held hoops in the water for the babies to "swim" through, most of them bobbing up and down on the surface totally unable to move, much like a fishing lure. Parents pushed their kids across the water through the hoop, and then it was our turn. "See, this is why we use the floaties - we don't want them to get their faces wet", the old trout woman scolded. "Jack can get his face wet, and he's been underwater before" I said, trying desperately not to shove this woman's head under the water. Reluctantly, I allowed her to put armbands and a vest on Jack, both of which were far too big for his age and he couldn't move his arms at all. He kept trying to pull the vest off, so I removed everything and got ready to take our turn through the hoop. He floated through the hoop as the old bat had a panicked look on her face and had her claws within reach should Jack suddenly plummet to the bottom for no apparent reason. "Next week" she said, "ARMBANDS AND VEST." Fine.
After mulling it over, I decided that we can still enjoy these classes despite the complete lack of structure and the Floatie Police. In fact, the lack of structure is a good thing because it means I can take him aside and go through the swimming techniques we learned before. The important thing was to get him back in the pool, and I will simply have to grin and bear the armband rule. I bought him a more reasonably-sized vest from Splashabout and will get him smaller armbands somewhere else, which should hopefully interfere less with his ability to move.
I am seriously hormonal right now. Maybe I should steer clear of nasty old witches just in case I get the urge to see if she floats.