Raising Water Babies

We are coastal people. Our business looks out at one of the most popular surfing beaches in Mexico, and we as a family enjoy spending time in the ocean doing water sports. There was a time though when my two baby boys were little and I had to watch every step they made, as the threat of the large, strong ocean made it daunting to relax and enjoy my beach days. There was really only one solution: get my kids trained and experienced in the water.


Long and hot summer days spent here in our sleepy village, with not much to do in the off season when work slowed down, and with two kids under the age of 4 years old made it obvious we had to get in a pool. The best decision we made was to sign up for swim lessons in the mid afternoon. That way we could get in some pool time since we didn’t have one, have the kids cool down, and then they would pass out afterwards and get in a good nap. Laurencio was our swim instructor for several years, and he had a very disciplined style that taught the kids how to float, then how to stroke and then specific styles of strokes. He always ended the class with the “dead man’s float” where they had to lay on their backs, completely still for a full minute. I love thinking about their intent concentration as they relaxed into this pose, with their little swim caps on, they looked so serene.


As their swimming improved in the pool, the next step was to head to the ocean. Boogie boarding was a perfect way for the boys to get into the water and experience the exhilaration of catching a wave and being propelled to the shoreline. Our neighboring surf schools were always willing to lend the boys a boogie board, and even take them out into the line up and push them into waves. 


Around 6 years of age, my older son decided he was taking up surfing. He practiced and played around in the beginner section of the surf break, catching white wash and standing up. He started actually catching waves and the addiction began. One day I remember so clearly, he says “Mom, I am going out there”- pointing to the main line up where the real surfers went. It was a few hundred meters from the beach, and I was hesitant about him going by himself. We went back and forth about it, but he was adamant that he was ready. “Fine”, I said. And that was it. From that point on, he paddled out there like a little tadpole and got into the lineup. All the local boys were so supportive, pulling him out to the line up, and then pushing him into waves. And then big swells would come through, and I was the paranoid mom standing on the beach trying to find my little dude in the lineup. All the surfers kept reassuring me he was fine, they were watching him.


Now my sons are 8 and 9 years old, and we spend most weekends at the beach. My older son is a better surfer than I am these days. My younger son has become really strong at Stand Up Paddling. There are moments when we are all out there, on the ocean together. A wave comes, and we all go for it. I look over and I see my boys, still little to me, riding the face of the wave. They look over at me, and shout- “Come on, Mom!” It is definitely the best part of my life so far!