Diving In At The Deep End!

My daughter, India, had her first swimming lesson at five months old.  Ok, she wouldn’t remember it if you asked her about it, but somehow, parts of it I remember as if it was yesterday instead of nearly thirteen years ago.  Don’t get me wrong, taking your baby swimming for the first time can be an extremely rewarding experience, but can also feel like a baptism by fire at the same time.  In my case (and it happened with one of my boys’ first swimming lessons too), India decided to fill her nappy literally a couple of minutes before the start of the swimming lesson, fortunately not in one of those swimming nappies!  Luckily for me, there was a nanny there who took pity on me and helped me with the necessary (it’s amazing how women can take other people’s children swimming without batting an eyelid).  That would be enough to put anyone off for life, standing around half naked whilst having to deal with a small child and up against the clock too.

There are a lot of potential problems about taking your baby swimming for the first time: Who gets changed first, you or the baby?  Where do you put the baby (after all, they don’t have the tendency to stay still and you don’t want them rolling onto a hard floor)?  What should the baby wear?  From what I can remember (and it isn’t a lot), I used to take the car seat in, get changed first and then get India changed.  That way, India spent less time in a swim nappy (they don’t hold much) and didn’t get cold, as the room temperature was a little unpredictable at the best of times.  In terms of swimming costumes, India used to wear a tiny little pink frilly thing, but when the boys started swimming lessons, I was required to put them into a baby wrap warmer as the pool’s temperature was a little cool.  Then comes the easy bit, the actual swimming lesson, there will be an instructor who should advise you on how to hold your baby etc. and there will be other parents in exactly the same boat.  It doesn’t matter if your child decides to scream blue murder, they won’t be the first and certainly won’t be last and as long as that nappy holds, you will be fine!

Getting out of the swimming pool is probably the most challenging part.  Firstly you’ll forget how heavy your baby weighs (water has a habit of doing that with all bodies) and then you will realise how bloody cold it is.  This raises the question who gets dressed first?  With a baby, I used to dry them off first and put on a fresh nappy and vest, strap into the car seat, warm and dry.  If the showers are in the changing room and there are enough mothers around, I used to have a shower to get rid of the chlorine, get dressed and then finish dressing the baby.  Once we got to toddler stage, the kids stayed in the showers to keep warm, whilst the mums got dry first.  It does take practice, but it does get easier and at some point you will probably have to deal with an exploding nappy, but by that stage you will be such a pro, that you will just laugh it off.

Tips For That All Important First Swimming Lesson

  • Go and visit the swimming pool before committing to the swimming lessons, it will help you plan in advance and you will know what to expect.
  • Does your swimming costume still fit after pregnancy?
  • Is your swim bag going to be big enough?  Your baby's belongings will probably take up more room than yours!
  • Even on the day, don't leave things to the last minute.  Give yourself plenty of time to pack (and double check your swim bag) and travel to the swimming pool.

Josef Craig Disqualified Because Of His Tattoo

Paralympian Josef Craig

Paralympic champion swimmer Josef Craig has landed himself in hot water by getting disqualified from a race at the IPC European Championships.  According to advertising policy, Josef’s tattoo of the Olympic rings breaches guidelines as it wasn’t covered at the time of the competition and that all swimmers were made aware of the policy at the technical meeting prior to the competition.  These rules have been put into place by the International Paralympic Committee, but it is commonplace for an athlete who has competed in the Olympics to have a tattoo of the rings as a

memento.  Tom Daley was given a tattoo voucher for his eighteenth birthday by his mum as she knew that he wanted the Olympic rings to celebrate his achievements at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics when he was just fourteen.  Tom Daley also doesn’t cover up his tattoo and hasn’t been disqualified in competitions.

So this asks the question is it really down to breaking advertising regulations or the fact that Josef Craig has a tattoo?  I think there is more to this than meets the eye and my gut feeling that there could be some old fashioned attitudes working behind the scenes that do not approve of body art and modification.  Body art and modification is as old as the hills and yet it still isn’t fully accepted by mainstream society.  It is seen to be the provision of the poor and the working class and those without aspirations.  This could not be further from the truth.  The likes of Josef Craig, Tom Daley and Michael Phelps work incredibly hard and have to follow a strict training and diet regime that does not allow for feckless behaviour.  Alex, the tattooist, who recently inked my forearm for me, said that anyone who had had negative comments made against them due to the fact that they were tattooed had actually been discriminated against.  Alex does have a point, as long as the tattoo isn’t sexually explicit, it shouldn’t hold anyone back.

The other side of the coin is when did the Olympic rings become an advertising logo?  The logo itself was designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, co-founder of the modern Olympics.  In the August 1912 edition of Olympique, Coubertin stated that

"...the six colors [including the flag's white background] combined in this way reproduce the colors of every country without exception.  The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri- colors of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan, and new China.  Here is truly an international symbol."

British Divers Tom Daley, Sarah Barrow and Chris Mears

Going by this statement, it is clear that the Olympic rings were not designed with profit in mind, but with the hope of including everyone without exemption.  It is only the greed of the modern day committees that have made it into something that it shouldn’t.  It will be interesting to see what will happen at the Brazil Summer Olympics later on this year.