Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Which one of these is not like the other.

Went to a friend's parent's pool today. It was very nice, the water warm and soothing, plenty of toys, and I remembered the floaters for the boy.

My kids aren't swimmers.

The Big Girl took lessons for awhile, and the boy has always clung to me. My octopus. This year, the girl has gotten braver, and will now put her head under the water and even look for things in the shallow end (with goggles). She's not ready to jump to the deep end, and I'm ok with that. The boy figured out that floaties (aka water wings) will keep his head above water and he's ok in the shallow end as well and doesn't need to have a vice grip around my neck at all times.

The Toddler is another story.

It all started out innocently enough - the two big ones jumped in the pool, and the Toddler was content to splash in the baby pool by the side of the big pool. Probably did that for half an hour. Then her little friend gets in the water - another two year old - with a life jacket and her mom. Big Girl digs out another swim vest for the Toddler. I jump in and she jumps to me. She's content with me for about thirty seconds, then she's off. Pushing against me, trying to be out on her own. I get her back to the ladder by barely supporting her tummy and telling her to kick.

This is completely foreign to me. The other two (at that age) completely freaked if pool water got on their faces. She doesn't.

She jumps to me a couple more times. Finally, I let her go all the way under before whisking her up to me. Then she decides she doesn't want my help getting in. She shimmies down the side of the ladder. Once down, she tests the buoyancy of the swim vest. A couple times, she goes completely under, but quickly pulls herself back up. Wiping her eyes and laughing, I'm waiting for my heart to stop skipping beats.

She does this for the next hour or so - floating and kicking, leaning forward and back. Frequently, the water goes above her mouth, so she readjusts so it isn't. She is always within reach.

Thing is, I'm a pretty good swimmer. I don't doubt my swimming ability at all. I did all the Red Cross Lifeguard stuff. At one point one of the kids (another invite) yelled "Help! Help!" with her arms flailing. I didn't hesitate to see if she was serious.

I yanked her out before the third "Help!" was all the way out of her mouth. Her dad wondered what happend, and I said "She was yelling help like she meant it." She didn't mean it. Apparently it's a game for her. She sat on the step and watched for a long time.

I'm not willing to risk it. Giving mouth-to-mouth isn't my idea of a good time - I've only ever practiced on dummies, and I absolutly don't want to have to use it.

So to see my just-turned-two-year-old, turn away and try and swim away left me feeling nearly helpless. She's the one that hides behind my legs, the one content so stay with me while the others go. But to see her so different than the other two left me a little shaken. How she'd stay calm when her mouth, and sometimes nose, went underwater. How, at such a young age she's wanting to explore something the other two are just now getting to.

Two days in a row - a post about my babies growing up. Eeks.

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