Grace is taking swimming lessons at the YMCA and every afternoon we find ourselves up at the pool there as she splashes around and learns the rudiments of swimming. They do sessions where the lessons are Monday through Thursday for two weeks, so it feels a bit like swimming lessons take over our life. We've done a few sessions so far this summer (although never two sessions back to back) and are now nearing the end of this latest one.
We did some swimming lessons the summer she was 18 months or so, but these are her first official lessons where she is in the pool without me and learning more actual swimming skills. We didn't do any lessons last summer in the midst of the packing and moving and settling in and whatnot, so I'm sure she had no memory of lessons at all. She sure did enjoy the pool last summer, though. She was exuberantly confident and gleeful in the water a year ago, and had absolutely no sense of self-preservation. She was fearless, jumping off the side and getting her face wet and occasionally trying to drink the pool. In fact, she would often try to wrench herself out of my grasp and purposefully jump from the side out of my arms' reach, despite the fact that a) the water was much deeper than her head and b) she did not actually know how to swim. I had a few moments of terror but none of it bothered her in the slightest.
When we started lessons this summer, it was an entirely different kettle of fish. (Ha! More fish!) Apparently, Grace at 3 and 1/2 has a much more realistic sense of her own abilities than Grace at 2 and 1/2 did; she started out much more timid and cautious. She's gained a lot of confidence through the course of the lessons, though, and I would say she is now back up to about last summer's level of comfort and delight in the water. As I have seen Grace and now Violet deal with the circumstances life has brought them, I am struck with how change is so constant is dealing with a child. They change so much so quickly; my adult desire to categorize and have expectations is often for naught.
Violet herself has recently changed and taken an intense dislike to being left in any group childcare setting. The church nursery and the childcare room at the gym both elicit wails and protests that none of the workers are able to calm. Church isn't such a big deal because I can still keep her with me in the sling without bothering anybody, but it's been weeks since I've been able to really work out at the gym. The last time I made an attempt, I settled Grace & Violet in the little childcare room, then went to do one weight machine before finding Violet screaming her little lungs out. I calmed her down, then went to try another weight machine, only to have to return to my wailing baby yet again. I continued this cycle a few more times before throwing in the towel. (An actual, literal towel. You know, they kind they have at the gym for working out with.)
My original plan with Grace's swimming lessons was that I would work out during them while Violet played in the childcare room, but that is not turning out quite as I expected. I shall have to wait out this particular temporary foible of my baby daughter before the gym is a good option again. In the meantime, some days Violet and I sit sweating inside in the quasi-air-conditioned vestibule right by the pool and some days we put on our swimming suits and play on the steps during Grace's lesson. It's much cooler there and Violet uses her little chubby hands to splash splash splash as the summer heat drones on.