Jul 092014
Baby doing the crawl stroke?

Is baby doing the crawl stroke? (Haha!)

Hello from San Juan, Puerto Rico! This is our first big voyage as a family of THREE, and Puerto Rico is just as I hoped: Easy to travel to and through with a 7-month-old, but different enough from Boston to quench my ongoing ache for Latin America for a time.

Before diving into the sights of San Juan, however, let’s celebrate a momentous and hilarious occasion: Our baby had his first ever pool swim today, and wait until you see where it took place!

The San Juan Marriott is a welcoming oasis.

The San Juan Marriott is a great place to launch an infant swimming career.

Lucky baby, Devi’s inaugural pool dip took place at the luscious San Juan Marriott (click for availability and rates), in the oceanfront Condado neighborhood of the city. As you can see from these photos, the Marriott’s pool is a multi-part gem. Folks come from far and wide to splish-splash in its palm-shaded water.

We had such a great first swim!

The baby was all smiles before the swim.

Not staying at the hotel? No problem. Outside visitors can purchase day passes to the resort pool and its amenities, as my cousin did when he traveled through Puerto Rico last year. But we lucky ducks staying in the hotel get the pool for free with our pretty room. And so we strapped on Devi’s swim diaper (no poop in the pool for us) and trotted downstairs.

The pool is beautiful at night, too.

The pool is beautiful at night, too, and it’s open until late.

For some background regarding our child’s water interactions, Devi used to shriek with rage-infused terror each time we gave him a bath, up until he was about a month old. “He looks like he’s falling off a cliff!” wailed his grandmother the first time we put him in the bathwater. “Take him out! Take him out!” Over time, however, our little marshmallow began to tolerate, and then finally enjoy the tub. So how would the voluminous bath known as “swimming pool” fare in the tastes of our guy? Well, here is a photo of his first pool reaction face:

Um... not so sure about this swimming thing, Mom!

Um… not so sure about this swimming thing, Mom!

Yes, Devi could neither confirm nor deny that he liked the pool. Rather, he spent the first fifteen minutes just taking it in while Colin swirled him around the warm azure water. Me, I was knee-deep in the pool (fully clothed) clutching my camera and jumping up and down trying to make the baby react in some manner other than, “Umm…”

No dice, but that was ok, since my surroundings looked like this:

Love the fountains at the side of the pool.

Love the fountains at the side of the Marriott pool.

Meanwhile, the baby just gaped at the water. Actually, “gaped” is not the right word, as it indicates a gapingly open, slack jaw. Instead, Devi displayed a guffaw-worthy tight little line mouth. This is similar to the face he makes when we try to feed him oatmeal.

Love the shadow and light dance on baby and pool.

Baby “line mouth,” highlighted by an artful shadow and light dance.

While Colin swam the baby over to stare in confusion at the fountains, I moseyed to the other side of the pool: a shallower area perfect for children younger than me but older than Devi. The palm trees swayed hello and laughter echoed off the water.

The other side of the pool is shallower.

The other side of the pool is shallower.

When I returned to father and son, our child was… smiling! His two little rabbit teeth shone white as he giggled and smacked the water with his hand. “I want to dunk him and see what he does,” declared Colin. “NO!” I squealed. “He’ll get water in his little nose-y!”

Starting to enjoy the water.

Little baby, starting to enjoy the water.

“Too late,” said Colin. “I think he’s already swallowed part of the pool.” Sigh… I suppose a child can benefit from having a yin-yang set of parents: Ms. Overly Cautious and Mr. No Worries.

Hey, this is kind of like crawling on the rug, except wet and floating!

Hey, this is kind of like crawling on the rug, except wet and floating!

The sun glinted off the water as it slid around our baby’s round white limbs, oh so fat and chunky.

“Is it his first swim?” asked a couple getting out of the water. We affirmed it was, and they sighed, confiding, “Our babies are now taller than us! Enjoy this now. They grow up so fast!”

There are beach chairs for the adults and a giant green slide overlooking the ocean for the kids.

There are beach chairs for the adults and a giant green slide overlooking the ocean for the kids.

This comment got me thinking about these moments of magical discovery. Four months ago, our baby was just discovering that his fist belongs to him. (His left first in particular, he was shocked to meet.) Today, Devi enters the world of aquatics, and can now slap the pool water with a confident fist and a big grin.

Swimming is so fun, Daddy!

Swimming is so fun, Daddy!

To all these people who tell us to “enjoy it now,” Don’t worry — we are! But with regards to, “They grow up so fast,” I refuse to be sadly nostalgic. Our baby is growing and discovering each day, and wherever he is is perfect! Especially if that place happens to be a beautiful resort pool in Puerto Rico.

Enjoy this article? Trip planning? Use this easy link to find the best rate for the San Juan Marriott and top-rated nearby hotels. Another great option is to rent a condo or house, and I love this site for Puerto Rico vacation rentals

We were guests of the San Juan Marriott, but all opinions and pool-styled baby comb-overs are my own. Affiliates here support this site at no cost to you. Happy travels! 


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  22 Responses to “A San Juan, Puerto Rico Resort Pool for Baby’s First Swim”

  1. He is so cute and the place is beautiful. Glad to see him enjoying his first swim. Thanks for sharing.
    #travel #PuertoRico #baby’sfirstswim

  2. This place is beautiful! I think that it’s absolutely great that you’re exposing Devi to water on an early age! He looks so fascinated by water, from what I’ve seen, other children would be screaming and crying to get out!

  3. Aaah so cute! Baby’s first time swimming. I’m glad he overcame his initial shock and enjoyed it. And we do grow up so fast haha. I think my mom is still confused as to how my sister and I are now in our 20s. She gets nostalgic on my birthday because it’s the anniversary of her becoming a mother (I’m the oldest).

    • You make several good points! #1: We should actually be celebrating our MOTHERS on our birthday, not just ourselves! #2: How can a parent ever take seriously a being whose diapers they changed? 🙂

  4. What a cutie! And what fun for him to have his first trip out in Puerto Rico. Baby swim classes can be a great thing to do with littlies — kids that stick with them turn into real water-babies. Even in a Boston climate!

  5. awww look at the cutie pie.. looks like he is enjoying his first swimming lesson so much… your baby is adorable Lellie dear 🙂 lots of love for you and the cutie pie <3 -Gabi

  6. Two of our three boys’ first swims have been in hotel swimming pools. With the exception of our Alex. He first paddled about in the piscinales naturales, saltwater swimming pools, of Gran Canaria’s ruggedly-beautiful north coast. Unfortunately, we don’t have it on camera like your excellent chronicle, Lillie.

  7. Adorable little baby you have there. Love to take my daughter swimming, shes just over 1 years old now!

  8. Aww looks like your little guy really enjoyed the water. And a first swim being at the Marriott in Puerto Rico seems pretty nice.

  9. So adorably cute!! Great pictures..

  10. Lucky baby! What a beautiful spot for a first swim. Glad to see you are enjoying Puerto Rico!!!

  11. So happy you got to go to Puerto Rico with your family.

  12. Cute story! Funny to see his reactions as he gets more comfortable with the water. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Congratulations and beautiful pictures! It was really important to me that my daughter learn to swim early on – and now at the age of 8 swimming is her favorite hobby!

    Our family of 3 is considering a vacation this September and were planning on South Carolina, but maybe we should consider Puerto Rico! Would love to know if there is much to do outside the hotel without a car?

    • Ah, either vacation sounds lovely! What’s so nice about Puerto Rico, however, is you get all the fun of an international destination, but don’t have to bring a passport or exchange money. Regarding the car, it’s hard to say because we got a rental car since we really wanted to see as much of the island as possible, and everyone told us it was essential. I’d say, however, that you certainly could have a fun vacation and see things without a car. Given how expensive rental cars can be, you could instead put those funds towards hotel-coordinated day trips (most hotels offer them, and they include transport) and taxis. It just depends how much of the island you’d want to see. Given how close it is to the U.S. you could just save the bulk of it for a subsequent visit!

    • Hi Alexandra,
      After getting this rental car question several more times, I wrote a longer article answering it: http://www.aroundtheworldl.com/2014/08/03/rent-car-puerto-rico/ . Best of luck!

  14. Love his initial reaction – priceless! And the new camera looks great 🙂

  15. Glad to see Devi’s uncertainty gave way to joy! And why not…the pool and surroundings are luscious. Especially the flora and fountains!

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