Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baby Steps

Niall has always been pretty cautious. While the other parents are racing to the edge of the pier/pool/beach to make sure their kid doesn't jump in, I can be confident that Niall will only hover near the edge at a reasonable distance to peek over.

When he was a baby, he loved those "mommy and me" swim classes, but ever since he turned 1, it's been a constant battle getting him back in the water.

Niall at 7 months

But things are starting to change around here. We went out to this lake in Virginia this past weekend to waterski and found out that Niall is no longer a teeter-near-the-edge kind of kid.

At first, he took his time. He shyly touched his toes in the ripples...

Then, took a few steps in on the ramp.

And then it was full force fearless kid in the water. Throwing rocks, dunking his head and even jumping to me when I wasn't looking or was busy holding Brendan. Which resulted in me heaving a baby up on my hip on one side and fishing for a submerged kid with my other free hand.

There's something really scary, for me, about letting a toddler--my own toddler-- dunk fully under the water.  No matter how many times I tell Niall to hold his breath or blow bubbles, I know he's just going to swallow a boatload of water.  So part of me is too afraid to let him do the whole head under water thing and learn on his own, even though I know he has to.  Can't we just doggy paddle with my hand supporting his stomach for a while?

But surprisingly, when I scooped him up this time... no tears, no choking, no gasping for breath. Just a quick wipe of the eyes and back to business. 

Even Brendan enjoyed his day on the pier.

And his time in the spotlight, as always...

I even faced my own fears, jumping off the top of the boat house, that I've been saying I'm going to do for 2 years now.  My last excuse was that I was pregnant.  This time, it was that a storm was passing through.  But finally the skies opened up and it was time.

After watching an 8 year old fearlessly plunge ahead of me about 10 times in a row, I finally did it.  I counted to 3 maybe a dozen times, contemplated if I should run or stand on the edge/ close my eyes or open them/ look down or straight ahead... and suddenly, I just did it.  It took the breath right out of my chest, but it was so fun.  And I'll definitely do it again... next time... maybe.

I'd say we all had a pretty successful day.

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