Today I graduated from Water Babies for the last time…..

Today my third – and last – child graduated from the Water Babies program at Nepean Aquatic Centre and Eva Bory’s. (I mention both schools because we have attended both, depending upon my child’s level and which day best suited at the time). And I have completely mixed emotions!

Moving up into Squids means that my 2 year old baby will now swim independently of me, which I always thought would be cause for celebration. No more getting in the pool, I can watch from the side of the pool, latte in hand, and as an added bonus, he can now swim at the same time as my 2 older children, giving me an entire morning back. Most importantly, my youngest is getting closer to being able to swim, and therefore becoming safer around the water.

But on the other hand, my time in the water with my little boy has been lovely, and I am devastated that this special bonding time is over (as is his Dad, who sometimes got in with him instead of me) . We have played games in the water, sung songs, connected with other mums and bubs, achieved several swimming skills, and had half an hour with absolutely no other distractions, no phones, no technology, just him and I and the water and supporting my child to learn to swim. One of his first phrases was ‘hot shower’, which he looked forward to after his lesson. I looked forward to the big lunch and the lovely restful sleep he would have in the afternoon after being in the warm water of the pool.

Moving my boy into Squids is a reminder that my youngest won’t be little for long, and one of his first milestones of independence – from here it is a slippery slope into daycare, first day at school, first wobbly tooth, not wanting to hold my hand, etc, etc, until he is driving away with the P plates on!

I wish I had known how sad I would feel putting this stage behind me on the mornings when I felt too tired / too cold / too busy / too unwell to feel enthusiastic about going along to swimming lessons and contemplated (but never actually did) staying at home instead. I wish I had known how much I would miss them. I share this to encourage you, other mothers with Water Babies, to enjoy every minute of your time in the program with your little one/s, and to not put off enrolment if you have been procrastinating.

Teaching your child to swim is the best gift you can give them – but being in the water with them at this precious early stage is also a huge gift to yourself!