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Swim Lessons and Locker Room Lessons

May 19, 2009

My son is taking swim lessons in a class called “Toddler and Me” which means a parent is in the water with each child. He’s learning to be comfortable blowing water out of his mouth and nose, kicking to propel himself, climbing out of the pool, hanging onto the wall and scooting to the left and to the right Spiderman-style, and relaxing while floating on his back.

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indoor swim lessons

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He really enjoys the songs that are part of each class.  Ring Around the Rosie, Pop Goes the Weasel and The Wheels on the Bus are so much fun in the water because we whirl and toss our children around so that they can learn to control their reaction to having water splashed on their faces. They sprinkle themselves with small plastic watering cans, even on their heads, to get comfortable with water dripping in their eyes.  He loves these swim lessons and I love being there with him!

I’ll also admit that I was glad to have been there when he learned the most infamous and inevitable of all locker room lessons: “Everyone’s penis is different”.  While changing back into our clothes in the presence of another mom and her little boy, my son said to me that the other little boy “might be sad” because of the way his penis looked.  I tried to speak softly and tell him that he didn’t need to be so concerned, but honestly I felt relieved that my son is intact.  My husband and I easily decided on the non-interventionist approach to modifying our son’s body.  Circumcision is almost unheard of in Peruvian culture anyway.  I personally feel that circumcision is senseless and reckless, but what’s done is done so I might as well teach my son to be polite and accepting of those who are different.

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indoor swim lessons

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  1. May 19, 2009 12:48 pm

    So cute, love the look of the natural sunlight on these:)

    • May 27, 2009 11:54 pm

      Thank you! That time of the morning has nice light. I’m never awake at sunrise to see what happens to photos in that early light, but 10:00 is more my style. 🙂

  2. May 20, 2009 11:38 am

    You are too cool!

    Thanks for dealing openly with this topic and standing up for your son’s right to make a decision about body modification if and when he wants to.

    In 1967 we had no choice.

    • May 27, 2009 11:56 pm

      Thanks, Rick. Sometimes I think about whether or not they deserve the chance to make decisions about appearing on this blog though. It’s hard to know whether using them as examples of my choices is actually taking away choices from them. Like does my son really want me to talk about his foreskin? Probably not.

  3. May 21, 2009 9:20 am

    Circumcision is unheard of in most of the world, actually. We thought long about this one, too. I’m glad we left things as they were, even if I’m NOT looking forward to this conversation with my son. Well handled!

    • May 27, 2009 11:58 pm

      I wasn’t expecting to have this conversation when he was so young. But he really wanted to give the boy a hug and ask him if he was alright. He was so taken aback by the difference in their bodies.

  4. rosiemolinary permalink
    May 26, 2009 9:16 pm

    I LOVE that your son was so empathetic about it. Your story is the perfect foil to the lockerroom example you hear when someone is making an argument for circumcision (ie: we didn’t want him to be different from everyone else in the locker room.).

    • May 27, 2009 11:59 pm

      Thanks, Rosie. That argument is so weak, I agree. Everyone is different regardless. Why make it about circumcision?

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