Summer Bucket List – Eleanor Swims!

Posted by: Josh

Josh here. Don’t be alarmed. I’m here to talk to you today about.. yes.. swimming.

Eleanor is nuts about the pool. I guess most kids are, right? We’ve been going to the pool for years now (and well she’s only 4-and-a-half, but I can say that, for YEARS, which, technically, is true! and also makes me feel grizzled). And just in the last month, she’s finally unlocked the secret, finally earned that badge — Eleanor swims! Like, underwater, by herself! What a champ. I’m so proud of her!

There she goes.

Don’t worry, that creep in the beard and sunglasses is me.

I’m taking credit of course, because this girl hasn’t had a swim lesson since she was a year-and-a-half (that’s three years ago, swimfans). And Maggie doesn’t do the pool if she can help it, so it’s usually me and Eleanor, pool pals.

To be honest, though, I feel a little silly claiming to have taught her how to swim, because really she did it all herself (though I will still take credit, as it is the fatherly thing to do). She loves the pool, as I’ve said, but in the past she’s been a lot more interested in playing AROUND the pool than in it. This year she’s finally developed a taste for spending time IN the water, though still clinging to me. She’s never owned any floaty type devices, so I always just hold her and swim her around myself. We consciously decided to avoid the floaties when she was younger because we were concerned that she would develop a false sense of security around bodies of water. If you know Eleanor, you’ll know why we didn’t want her being brave about water without the requisite swimming skills. May I remind you of her daredevil tendencies? Yeah.

Lately though she’s been enthusiastically “borrowing” the noodles, inner tubes, and other assorted flotation devices of her fellow pool-going children. We finally decided to get her a noodle of her own.

It was apparently the right time, because she went wild on it. Hog wild — if hogs could swim (can hogs swim? surely not, that would be terrifying). As soon as she had her own noodle, she was swimming all over the pool, by herself, just her and the pink extruded tube of polyethylene foam, with utterly no fear or concern about where or who Daddy was or was not (P.S. I found a lot of the words in this Wikipedia post about noodles upsetting — particularly “noodleskin”. Say it again…  “noodleskin”. Say it again.. um no thanks).

Then, without a lot of prodding, I convinced her to try it without the noodle for a few minutes each session, until she was doing it more and more, and then she was just dog paddling her little bottom off! Go girl! Yessir.

Oddly, she has this habit of not using her left arm whilst dog paddling, which gives the impression that she has been grievously wounded there, perhaps in the course of a bank heist or liquor store hold-up in which she has been winged by the overzealous gun-toting cashier and then leaped down the gorge (who built this 7/11 next to a gorge?) into the fast flowing river below and is paddling one-armed to freedom. And she’s left-handed! Doesn’t she want to use that arm? I can’t seem to convince her.

Nevertheless, the girl is swimming! Dog paddling, and under water alike! Proud.

So hang on to your noodleskins, Eleanor is probably on her way right now to a body of water near you! Yes, YOU (I am vigorously pointing in your direction, heads up and when did you start wearing that hat it is stunning)!

Here’s a few reminders of what a cutie pie she has been at the pool:

First Pool Visit

First swim ever! (6 months old!).
Swim Lessons
First (and last) swim lessons (one-and-a-half years old)!

First Swim of 2010

First swim of 2010 (two-and-a-half years old).

First Swim of 2011

First swim of 2011 (three-and-a-half years old!).

Check out more summer adventures from our Summer Bucket List!


  1. theresa 

    That’s amazing! Great job Eleanor! (oh, and you too Josh) ;o)

  2. Christina 

    My daredevil 4.5 year old started swimming after her first noodle experience, too! We were anti-floaty devices for the same reason. Congrats Eleanor (and Josh)!

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  1. [...] Summer Bucket List – Eleanor Swims! – Making Me Cranky | July 5, 2012 [...] Check out more summer adventures from our Summer Bucket List! [...] [...]

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