This past Saturday was a day that I had been looking forward to for six months - the day when Nathan got to attend his first Bébé Nageur ot Baby Swimmer. There aren't too many activities for young babies to do in France. I feel like in the United States there are so many more things to do with a young baby - gymboree, mommy and me music classes and boot camps, etc. I had been searching for these kind of activities here in Clermont-Ferrand and could find nothing. I wanted something that Nathan could do to keep us active and in touch with the outside world, but also something where I could meet other mothers of children his age. As an American it is already very hard to make friends and having a small baby makes it even harder. This is why when I found out that there was a swimming class for babies 6 months and older at the pool in Chamalieres (in our neighborhood), I could hardly wait to go!
Before being able to go to the pool we had to find Nathan a swimsuit. I found the cutest swimsuits at an online store and bought them. I bought a cute pair of swimming baby briefs - but since I bought them at a French website, I had no idea how to use them. Sometimes I feel so bad that Nathan got stuck with me as a mom, I mean, I didn't even know how his swimsuit worked. I mean, did they go over the diaper, where they the diaper; they didn't come with instructions. I didn't want to show up at my very first swimming class and have everyone stare at me for not knowing how to put on his swimsuit. I am still very self conscious about being a foreigner, so I try my best to blend in and avoid the stares. Trying to avoid humiliation I decided to do the great swimsuit experiment at home! With his regular diaper on, I strapped on the baby brief, which in french is maillot anti-fuite. I knew that this meant anti-leak bathing suit, but I wasn't sure if it was to keep the water from leaking in and protecting his diaper or to prevent leaking out and it was the diaper. So the experiment was a two parter:
1- Regular diaper + swimsuit
The first thing I did was fill up Nathan's bathtub with water. Then I put on the little briefs over his regular diapers and put him in the tub. I let him splash around for a while before taking him out and checking to see how "anti-leak" the diapers really were.
The briefs ARE the diaper. His regular diaper was soaked, and little puddles of water had collected inside the briefs (I guess they really are anti-leak). And so, armed with this new knowledge - I was ready for bébé nageurs.
I suppose that I was expecting a structured class where I would learn things that would stimulate Nathan, and help him develop his skills to learn swimming later in life - this was not the case. We got Nathan ready in his little swimsuit and headed to the pool. There were about 30 other kids there, and they were all playing with different toys in the water with their parents. There were different kinds of rafts, and balls, and noodles, etc. They had closed off the shallow end of the pool, and the little wading pool and had it all set up for the babies to swim. While I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more structure, it was so much fun to spend that quality time with Nathan. He loved being in his little noodle raft and kicking his feet like a little frog. He had such a great time in the water. I loved holding him, and hearing his laughs as we jumped up and down in the pool.
The "class" was only half an hour long, but Nathan and his parents had a great time. As soon as we got him in the car he passed out (I guess he had done more exercise than I realized). We went downtown to have breakfast (as we do every Saturday) and Nathan woke up with quite an appetite. I am hoping to add Bébé Nageurs to our Saturday schedule, and I hope it becomes a good way for Nathan to make "friends".