Rooney's First Organized Activity: Waterbabies

Aside from spiders, snakes and creepy crawly things in general, one of my biggest fears in life is being over-committed as a family.

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I hear the “busy-ness” stories all the time from other parents and families. A family with a few kids can easily have multiple activities scheduled six or more days a week. Signing up for anything and everything that’s offered – it scares the pants off me. I’m all about experiences, but what happened to the simple life? Or, was I busy as a child and didn’t even notice?

It seems there is an organized club, committee, team or event for everything these days. So how do we keep it all balanced? I have no clue. But for now, we’re treading lightly…

We made it 19 months before signing Rooney up for her first organized activity: Waterbabies at our local YMCA. (It cost $35 since we don't have a membership, but normally costs $20, in case you're wondering.) It was one night a week for five weeks. Each week offered 30 minutes of introduction to water.

It was just Rooney and I in the water the first week, but after her hesitation, we decided it might be best if we were all in the water, so that's what we did the last four weeks. I envisioned it would be cold and unpleasant, but it was like being in a giant bath tub. Nice work on the water temp, YMCA.

Context: Rooney had only been to the pool a few times prior to this. She really enjoys the zero-depth entry, but doesn’t really like when her feet can’t touch and we’re holding her. She likes to be grounded.

She’s also been on her papa’s boat a few times and loves looking out at the lake, but when we went in June, the water was too cold to swim, so she never got in.


She’s had a love/hate relationship with baths from day one. As an infant, she hated them. And now, after moving to the “big bath” with some toys, she’s still a bit mediocre about the whole experience. She absolutely hates water on her head. She won’t look up, so I can’t poor the water over her hair only and it goes in her eyes. (Any tips? I’m getting desperate.)

Long story longer, I knew Waterbabies was going to be a challenge. If I had to grade the fun level of the first night (for both Rooney and I combined) on a scale of 1-10, I would say that it was a 5. Right in the middle.

I had some great bonding time and teaching moments with her, and I spent the entire 30 minutes trying to earn my daughter’s trust. She did pretty well as we sang some weird songs that helped teach us how to blow bubbles, splash, pull our arms through the water, jump in from the side and kick our feet.

By “teach” those things, I mean I did them all while Rooney blank-stared at me like I was a fool. As fun as all this sounds, I really did have a great time. I love teaching my daughter new things and being an example for her. She’ll sit and watch for a long time before trying something for the first time (just like her mama). And that’s a good trait to have, just not one that I have, so I’m learning along the way, too.

She doesn’t always get what I’m trying to teach, but she’s really great at observation. And from past experience with her, I’m confident she’ll catch on. But she does like to enter with caution in most situations. And as Waterbabies went along, she got more and more comfortable each week. I'm really glad we did it. Seeing her learn and grow brings joy to my heart.

I get to learn patience and creativity in the way I teach things to my daughter. Being the parent of a toddler can be really tough and challenging at times, but it’s so much fun.

How does your family balance the dynamics of family activity scheduling?