Yesterday Lex (20 months old) and I took an afternoon trip to the local kiddie wading pool / fountain. We hadn’t been there in about 1.5 months and before that only twice before. During previous trips Lex barely wanted to enter the water at any depth beyond his ankles. Of course, this was fine with me, but I was a bit concerned that he was missing out on all the fun that the other 50 kids were having. Perhaps the number of kids and attentive responsible fathers and mothers made him nervous before.
I also worry that Lex will fear bodies of water and never want to learn to swim. I enjoyed water and swimming so much as a kid I cannot imagine any childhood without it. I thought Lex was going to love the water, because during our outings in the winter and early spring he always seemed to want to climb into ever body of water he could find.
This elaborate wading pool fountain fills up at its deepest point to about 18 inches and then seemingly magically the water recedes and a couple minutes later the water returns through a gentle waterfall coming through a wall of large stone blocks. The kids love it, but for some reason Lex was not really that interested during previous visits. When I carried him out in to the water and attempted to lower him into it he expressed fear and pulled his little feet up.
However, yesterday things were different. Immediately he ran to the water. Within 10 minutes he was wading knee deep in the advancing and receding tides of the fountain. He even fell down in the water and was submersed to half of his torso, and yet he didn’t cry or panic. I was quite proud of his new courage and confidence and happy for him as well. Earlier this week he had waded into the near by river at about a depth of six inches, but there was no one around and this is a spot we had frequented quite a bit this summer.
It was great spending time with him exploring something new. It also made me feel good when he would wander off and then later seek me out after not seeing me for a while. I felt as though I had good day in my pursuit of responsible fatherhood.
Lex did protest and complain a lot as we left the pool / fountain, but it was his dinner time (4:00 PM) and I knew from experience that his energy would not last past 5:00. I know this is an earlier than usual bedtime, but it seems to be what he most prefers and it works very well with our schedules.