Ever since Jess was an infant, she loved water. I would give her baths in the kitchen sink and she would slap the water and laugh. When she was big enough, she took her bath in the tub. We would put any plastic toy in with her and she would play. By the time she was 2 years, she could stay happy in her bath for over an hour. She loved it so much that I would add warm water to let her play longer.
She liked laying on her stomach looking at her hands moving underneath the water. I would put a facecloth in the water and she loved taking it out and watching it drip. Water made her happy. I would sing to her "Splish Splash I was taking a bath..." and her laughter could be heard throughout the house (or was it mine because when Jess was in the tub, everyone was happy).
One night I had just put Jess in the tub and went to get some towels. Melissa came up behind me and asked if she could get in the tub (they loved to take baths together). I told her she could and lickety split she was in the tub, clothes and all.
In the summer time we started with the wading pools. We could enjoy the fresh air all day as long as there was a pool of water to play in. One day I even cut her hair while she was in the pool, it was the most cooperative she had ever been throughout the process.
Wading pools got bigger as the girls grew and before you knew it, one summer we purchased an above ground pool. Jess was about 10 and Melissa 8. Jess still wore her swimmies but Melissa was a good swimmer. Having this pool was the best decision we had ever made. It benefited our family so much. It was the one activity that we could do as a family. Whether Koosh and I were in the water with them or sitting deckside reading a book while on "watch" everyone enjoyed the experience. As Melissa got older, she invited her friends over and there was always someone around modeling social behavior to Jess. Jess loved the interactions. We had many friends who also had children from babies to teens and we all played with Jessica. We even added a heater which prolonged the season for us and also provided Koosh and I with some nice private swims in the evening.
Spending time in the pool could really turn a tantrum filled day around. I can't imagine our lives without the enjoyment we got from our pool.