|Me in the cold North Atlantic, somewhere around 2004|
My son is not me, which is to say that he is fond of animals but not terribly interested in
While swimming lessons have provided mixed results, Hank seems to have taught himself how to swim with his face in the water and to use his hands to search for seashells and rocks. There's no sitting on the beach with this one. I screwed up in preparations for our Florida trip in not ordering him a wetsuit. I don't know what I was thinking. Luckily a local surf shop in Venice Beach, FL (Windflight -check them out!) had what he needed.
Every day in Florida, Henry swam for an hour or more. Up and down the beach. Out to sea, and back again. I generally stayed really close, and he likes the company. More and more, he gets his back to the surface and lays out a nice form to keep floating. One problem we keep having is that other parents put life preservers and floaties on their 5, 6, 7, and 8 year old kids (parents, please don't do this unless there's a specific medical need). This creates two problems, which I've personally witnessed numerous times.
2. Due to this obliviousness, the child will call to other children like Hank and yell, "I'm swimming! You don't know how to swim, but I can!" I guess that's the nature of kids, but Hank (who can actually swim) tends to get upset because he can't float as good as they can in their PFD.
These things present a parenting challenge, but I suppose it's like anything else in life - you handle it and move on. I'm proud that my son is five years old and has a reverence for water and its ability to harm him. I'm terrified that he doesn't mind jumping over the line of what's safe, but again, I suppose that's normal. More than anything, I'm ecstatic that my boy has discovered that he can find refuge for his little mind and spirit in the saltwater. I'm excited to see what form that takes (please, no jetskis). Time will tell.