One of my favourite pastimes is swimming! I love it and find it totally relaxing and refreshing. It's my preferred form of exercise and something that I have always done regularly ... until I moved to the States.
Where we live, there are no indoor public pools ... only outdoor ones, where the emphasis is more on fun (which I have no problem with!), rather than actual swimming. They are only open from the end of May until the begin of September as well. All except the local high school where you can 'lane swim' between 5-7am ... yeah right, no chance! So I am very much looking forward to getting to Dodoma, Tanzania where there will be more than one pool nearby that I can use year round ... with one on the MAF compound itself.
Some of my American friends have found it strange when I tell them that it's not unusual to take our little ones to the pool regularly from as early as a few months old in the UK. Something we did with Abigail but unfortunately never had the chance to do with Naomi. Abigail has always been a total water baby and has never even batted an eyelid when she's had water in her face or been anywhere that involves water. More like squeals of delight and giggles of excitement! Naomi on the other hand isn't too sure about the whole thing but also isn't totally adverse to the whole water thing either!
Apparently when I was younger I wasn't too sure either ... and that has clearly changed. So I don't doubt that in time Naomi will come to enjoy it like me too!! After all ... Abigail loves it, I love it, my mum is a total water-lover and in her school days Mark's mum was also a school's swimming champion, even if she has swum much since then. The legacy is definitely there and once we're in Tanzania the lifestyle will be too.
In order to better prepare Abigail we enrolled her in some swimming lessons over the summer. When I was teaching in Dodoma (1999-2001), I taught swimming so could have done it myself but little people (and bigger ones!!) have a tendency to listen better when it isn't their own parent but a proper teacher telling them what to do! She has done 3 of the 8 sessions and ABSOLUTELY LOVES it!!! It's all she talks about ... her teacher is called Katie ... and I hear 'Katie this, Katie that'! She's definitely building up her confidence, going under water, diving for sticks, getting the hang of stretching out and kicking her legs, using a float and the highlight at the end of each session ... going down the big slide on her own!! (You may be able to make out the huge smile on her face in the photo below!)
It's been really fun to watch Abigail and see her excitement before and during each session. It also gives me some time to splash around in the water with Naomi and get her used to it all as much as possible too. The first time we took her swimming a few months ago she certainly wasn't a big fan but she seems to be getting the idea! Now I just dream of a nice long swim session of my own, I know it will come ... in time!!