For as long as I can remember, Elliott has loved the water. He loves anything water-related, i.e. taking a bath, watching kids play at water fountains, smearing water droplets all over the kitchen floor (sigh) and most of all, he lurrrrrrrves swimming. We can’t walk past the swimming pool without him giggling in excitement and wanting to jump in. I have had to drag him kicking and screaming away from the pool because hello, we are walking the dog and just happened to walk past the pool.
The husband would take him swimming on weekend afternoons when he refuses to nap because nothing drains his energy like a good splashing session at the pool. Previously, we had to hold him with our one arm under his armpit and the other supporting his torso so that his body is horizontal and he can kick away. He would squeal in delight and sometimes, we would pretend to chase him in the pool just by splashing the water and that gets him ridiculously excited.
We wanted to get him a swim float but he’s a little too young for the armband ones. These armband floats are also usually meant for 3 year olds and up. He doesn’t quite like his car float as it doesn’t allow him to kick his legs with wild abandonment. After mad googling and asking around, I decided that the Puddle Jumper from Stearns would work best. I’ve never heard of these pre-baby but apparently, these are U.S. Coast Guard approved (phwah) and are great for little ones because other than the armbands, it has a chest float that buckles at the back. This works better than a swim vest because it doesn’t ride up onto the neck when the child is swimming.
Some parents have shared their concern that if a kid is too reliant on floats, they will take a longer time to learn how to swim. My thought on the matter is: When he’s older enough, I am pretty sure he will not want to use a float anymore (peer pressure, maybe?) so until then, using a float would hopefully help him enjoy pool time better (save our sore arms) and keep him safe in the water.
So yes, I decided that we should get Elliott one of ’em Puddle Jumpers. I thought that they’d be easy to pick up from any toy/swim store but you won’t believe the amount of effort I went to just to secure one for him!
Thanks to my mad Googling skills, I found out that Toys R Us carry them. I checked out the outlet at Suntec City as well as the one at Tampines Mall. They had all sorts of floatation devices but no Puddle Jumpers. Pfffft. Tried buying them online but the only designs carried by Amazon were not very exciting. Besides, I really did not want to spend more just to hit the free shipping minimum. Very slippery slope there.
To cut a long story short, I made the husband drive us to City Square Mall (mad weekend traffic and all) last weekend just to check out the Toys R Us store because that particular outlet carries it. And voila! It wasn’t difficult to spot them at the “swim” section as they stood out for being rather bright and bulky. Unlike “normal” floats, these don’t deflate. They’re almost like a lifevest for kids.
Interestingly, the “deluxe” version which is made of woven polyester (to reduce chafing and is softer) is the same price as the standard one (S$39.90). Even though I’m not a fan of the colour green, the husband made the wise decision to get the deluxe one in the Toucan design. There weren’t many designs in the deluxe range to choose from. It was either the green Toucan or the purple Giraffe and the bird won.
We tried it at the pool over the weekend and I tell you, it was one of the best buys ever!
I was concerned that the little man would show his displeasure at having this random thingamijig around his chest and arms but he surprised me yet again. He wasn’t bothered by it at all and we simply guided him into the pool as usual.
Instead of having to hold him in a horizontal position, we simply held onto him to let him (the husband held onto the back of his swim shirt with his fingers – haha!) get used to being independent with the float. He was squealing in delight as usual but this time round, his squeals were a mix of excitement and nervousness.
“Oooooh! I CAN SWIM! ON MY OWN! Ooooh! MUCH EXCITES!”
Whenever he kicked his legs, he would swallow a bit of water which will give him a bit of a shock. Repeat x 20 times. I had a field day giggling at him from the side of the pool (and snapping a million pictures and videos as all crazed mothers do). He couldn’t articulate it but we could tell that he was extremely thrilled at being able to “swim” on his own.
I love that his Puddle Jumper (kinda) matches his colourful swim trunks. Hehe. And that’s the adjustable buckle that goes behind his back to keep the chest float secure. It sits snugly at his armpits which helps to keep the arm floats in place. Even though the Puddle Jumper is meant for kids that weigh 30-50 lbs. (about 13-22 kg), it worked ok with Elliott who is currently about 11kg.
Oh one more important note: After this swim, Elliott pretty much passed out. He was in such a deep sleep, we had to (gasp) wake him up for a late dinner. Hurhur.
Can’t wait for the next weekend to take him swimming again!