Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Doesn't Want to Teach Daughter to Swim

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I just had our first child. We are loving being parents so far, but are having a serious debate about whether we should be teaching our daughter how to swim. My husband was trained to swim as an infant by his parents and supervised by an instructor. He explained to me the process of infant swim training. He says he is glad his parents made him go through this, and he wants to put our daughter in these classes. I have looked up online what the training entails, and I am disturbed by it. There has been controversy about whether it is good for the child. My husband is very set on this, but I am not 100 percent comfortable with it. How do I get him to change his mind about the swim classes? -- Not for Swim Training My Infant, Washington, D.C.

DEAR NOT FOR SWIM TRAINING MY INFANT: Full disclosure: I learned to swim at age 4. My younger sister was a few months old. I got my daughter swim lessons starting at 11 months old. In other words, I am a believer in early swim training. That said, I feel strongly that you should find a certified swim teacher for your infant. What you can do to feel more comfortable is to identify a class that is focused on infants. We used the YMCA, which has swim programs across the country.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 28-year-old woman who is in a steady relationship. I am currently on birth control (an IUD that lasts three years at a time). I am due to have it removed next month. I have discussed it with my partner, but I have not asked him if I should be getting another IUD that lasts three years. I don’t want to assume that we will be having a child anytime soon, but I also don’t want to automatically throw it off the table by getting another birth control device put in. Should I discuss this with my boyfriend, and if so, how? -- Birth Control Confused, Charlotte, North Carolina

DEAR BIRTH CONTROL CONFUSED: Given your age, the status of your relationship and the parameters of your birth control method, it is time for you to have a serious talk with your boyfriend about the future. If you get the IUD now, you will be 31 before you remove it. Do you want to wait that long to consider having a child? Decide for yourself what you think about your future, and then broach the topic with your boyfriend.

Birth control can sometimes make a couple feel like the pressure to make decisions about the future has been removed, but that should not be the case. Now is a perfect time for you to talk about your plans. What do the two of you want for your lives? This should include whether you think you are in the relationship for the long haul, whether you want to have children and, if so, when. If your boyfriend gets agitated when you bring this up, remind him that there is a natural reason for it. You have to decide about the IUD.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)