One fun thing about having a second kiddo is that it's interesting to compare and contrast. "Oh!" I say to myself. So, all children aren't like that ... And, sorry, Lizzy, but that's usually been said with some measure of relief. Certainly not always, but often.
Maddie, as it turns out, is, and has always been, a water baby. Even before she could sit up, she's been bathing in the bathtub on her big sister's lap, and she has never minded being doused with water when it comes time to rinse her hair (what little hair she had back then). I've almost never seen her complain about it in the least. In fact, she's taken to leaning back in the bath and attempting to float, occasionally letting her face sink deeper and deeper, just to see what that's all about. I joke that she and Lizzy are on about the same level, in terms of bravery in the water.
Lizzy, who is 5 1/2 years older, started her young life being absolutely terrified of the water. I eagerly anticipated her day care's first 'water play day,' where they fill inflatable pools with about three inches of water and set the young'uns in there to splash a bit and enjoy the sunshine. (She was probably about 8 months old.) I even left work and took my camera to the day care to witness, and record, the event. What I got were priceless pics of her screaming her little pink head off, wearing a ridiculous baby bikini (I hadn't yet realized that it's best to buy swimsuits early in the season, if you're the least bit particular about what you get). Since then, she has been quite clingy to Mommy in the pool. It's only been the past three years or so that I've been able to talk her into being more interested in pool-type activities. Now, though, she's hit her stride. She loves 'lazy rivers,' and modest water slides (if they're straight, and uncovered -- nothing crazy, now!), and jumping in the pool doing 'cannonballs,' if I will catch her. This year, for the first time, she can touch the bottom of the pool in all parts of our local rec center, which is a serious plus and boost to her confidence. She officially loves going swimming.
And Maddie, oh Maddie -- you can imagine her glee. She gives not a second thought to slipping completely under the water, or crawling out of the pool and hurtling herself into our arms, fully confident that we will catch her. I'm not sure whether to be flattered, or horrified, at her utter trust that we won't let her fall.
There's a little circular slide in the shallowest part of the rec center pool where Maddie can truck around under her own power. She marches her sturdy little legs up those slide stairs and slides down, where we have to catch her because she goes too fast and can't stop at the bottom before going under, again and again and again. She cannot get enough.
The pool, as do many I've been to locally, takes a break at the top of every hour. I'm told it's in the hopes that the kids, if forced out of the pool for 10 minutes, will actually go use the facilities and "keep the 'p' out of our ool," as a sign I saw once said. I wish them luck with that fantasy, but it's a nice thought.
Try explaining this to a toddler, though. All that Maddie knows is, I'm dragging her away from the most fun she's ever had in her little life. And there doesn't seem to be the slightest reason. We're not leaving; we're still poolside, for goodness' sake. So, why can't she go charging back in? She wrestles herself to the ground, out of my grasp, but I still won't let her back into the water. I try to walk her around the perimeter, one eye on the clock to see how much longer I have to deal with my impatient toddler. Time goes soooooo slowly.
But, oh, the fun of going back in when our 10 minutes is up. We just earned ourselves 50 more minutes of fun!!!