In my year of trying new things, yesterday's adventure will go down as one of the more memorable and fun.
Yesterday morning I got to take Chance, one of Blarney's twins, for his first swimming lesson. This was brilliant fun. Much less challenging or oppressive than Zumba, and certainly far more rewarding.
A bit of history. I love the water. Like most Australian children, I was dunked at about three-years-old, had my first lessons at four and have been swimming regularly ever since. I'm not of any great standard, but I'm a reasonably strong swimmer and I'm very comfortable in the water, pool, sea or river. If there's a party with a pool, I'm in there. I don't have any scruples about going for a swim. It's me in my natural element.
Blarney, on the other hand, is Irish. She learned to swim two years ago. I'm so proud of the fact she can now do twenty lengths of the local pool with ease - something we do regularly all year round. She's often lamented that not knowing how to swim has stopped her doing things on holidays and she's adamant that her boys will be able to swim well.
So now Chance and Lance are over the age of six months, it's time to get them in the water. Aunty Panda blurted out a few months ago that if she needed a hand with swimming lessons to shout and I'd be there. I'd be available on the weekends I don't have meditation on Saturday morning.
Blarney shouted and Saturday morning we traipsed down to the Altona Pool to put Chance through his paces.
It often surprises me - I'm a 42-year-old, childless woman. Why would anybody leave me with their child? Let alone take them into a pool for a half hour lesson? Blarney, in her wisdom, told me to take Chance for his lesson while she played with Lance in the kiddie pool. Chance seemed to like the bath more and is a bit more dextrous that his brother. Neither Chance or Lance are crawling yet, but they're going for swimming lessons.
Glumph. Something new for Aunty Panda.
So Chance, in his swimmer nappy, and me in my togs, jumped in with Sam the instructor, and ten others. Three dads, a mum and one grandpa, with their offspring, aged from six months to two years for the half hour lesson.
This is some of the best fun I've had in years. Chance had a ball as we did the "motorboat" and the chase the balls, fall off the edge into the chest,the float on backs and the run/crawl/dance on the mat. To their credit, little Max, Marnie, Jaxon, Deke and Shawna were exemplary students. No tears, no screaming. They all seemed to love the class, as did Chance, who's an ace at floating on his back (with a bit of support) and kicking in the water. Bubbles are a bit beyond him, but give him time. I got lots of smiles and giggles from him. The only thing he wasn't too fond of was going under water under a bar (with help). A toss in the air or two got his smile back after that nasty interruption.
What was more fun was watching the adults really get into the class - singing, jumping, larking about.
As a bonus, nobody drowned.
It was really sad to see the class end, on which we got out of the pool and went and found Blarney. She said she's been looking over periodically and we seemed as happy as pigs in muck.
She and Lance had lots of fun in the kiddy pool. One on one time they rarely get.
We got home and Chance conked out immediately, falling alsleep in his high chair between mouthfuls of mushed up pumpkin.
Next week, Barney will take Lance for his lesson and Chance will have Mummy time.
All I know is I feel incredibly honoured and privileged to get to do such things, as it is an honour to have a friend trust you with their child as such. Not that I have any regrets not having had children, I just know that getting to do these sorts of things with the boys is something I will cherish for life.