The summer that Leah was about 18 months old, and probably the next summer too, every time I tried to take her swimming I spent about 3/4 of the time trying to coerce her into actually getting into the water. About 15 minutes before it was time to leave she’d finally decide to enjoy herself.
When Ben was that same age and stole a kid’s boat at a wading pool, I had a brain flash and put some of our excess bath toys into a bag to keep with the swimming paraphernalia (swim diapers, chlorine-removing shampoo, swimsuits, towels, sunscreen. Keeping it together in one place makes it sooo much easier to just GO.) He was a bit more interested in the water, but true to his cautious nature, spent most of the time holding my hands or legs.
They have both taken swimming lessons for at least 2 years now, and Ben is still nervous about jumping off the edge of the pool, especially without someone catching him. If fact, he WON’T jump unless he thinks someone is going to catch him. Too bad his mom is kindof a liar in that department. (We’ll just call it a Tiger Mother streak…I KNOW he can do it!)
But this 3rd baby, on the other hand…
What did I expect, when he was doing THIS at just over a year?
There is no hesitation about water for this kid. He is IN IT from the moment we say okay, and sometimes almost before he has his swim diaper/trunks on!
Late last week we went to a wading pool, and instead of depending on me to play with him, Adam took charge and spent the time walking around on his own…and only periodically commanding me to “One two FREE!” and swing him into the water. Impressively, he did a pretty good job staying upright, and only slipped under three times. I grabbed him immediately the first time, and he hardly seemed to notice. The second time he dunked under but had gotten his footing by the time I made the two steps over. The third time I was there right away again, but he required a short comforting before diving – or stepping – in the water again.
Each time we go swimming, he gets bolder and closer to giving us a heart attack. Yesterday we all went swimming, Daddy included. After Adam got tired of walking around in water up to his chin, he did a little dance on the side of the pool, on a penninsula-type of thing. It was great entertainment for everyone, even the lifeguard. Then he started walking on the filtered border of the pool, about a foot wide. At first he was on my side of the penninsula (chin deep on him), but he quickly rounded the corners and was one topple from being in water 5 feet deep. Aaron was closer than I was, but I knew he wouldn’t be able to get there in time.
As I hoisted myself out of the water, I checked the lifeguard’s position – and yes, she was paying attention and looked ready to jump in at a second’s notice. Reassuring that I wasn’t the only the one anticipating his actions!
I walked along side Adam for a bit before redirecting him to shallower waters. Soon he was going down the slide (no water running on it, just at the bottom) – on his belly with feet first – whereas on our previous visit he refused to go at all.
I guess I’ll get used to having my eyes on him constantly – and having my blood pressure spike periodically. It’s all just another relaxing summer afternoon!
Have you had any close calls around water? (Let’s keep it light – I’m aware that there are plenty of tragedies surrounding water and children, and if you’ve experienced that, you have all my sympathies. That possibility is why we will never have a pool, and why I make sure to have plenty of eyes on my kids, and usually life jackets too.)