Jul
31
2011

  Pond Fun

I think this was W's first time in the pond since M was born. T has instituted the sensible rule that as long as the children are so young, there should be a 1:1 ratio of adults to children when we're in the pond.

T isn't keen on pond swimming, but C was game, so I was in charge of M and she took charge of W. For most of the time we were there, W just played with his toys in the sand (he had a grand time using a shovel to fill a plastic dump truck with wet sand, then dumping the sand back into the pond). I held M on my stomach as I relaxed on my float. He seemed to like the water just fine. The infant life vest was still a bit big on him (do you think the manufacturer didn't plan on 5-week-old babies needing a life vest?). It did seem like overkill since he was just sitting on my stomach, but we really can't see through the water to the bottom of the pond, so better safe than sorry.

When W wanted to come in, he wanted to be on my float instead of C's, so I handed over the baby and took W aboard. He mostly sat on the footrest and kept to the shallow part where his feet could still touch the ground, but we had fun.

That was all last week. Today we went out again, but I left M with T, who joined us (although not in the water) for a little while, but then went inside and left W and I together alone on the water. Today W was more adventurous. He sat in the seat of my float with me at first. He sat up with his feet dangling in the water and I paddled us around the pond. We saw some of the tadpoles that were born this spring-- they're about 2" long now, but still tadpoles. Eventually I got W to turn around and use the footrest of the float as a pillow so we were facing each other-- that was a little more relaxing position for him. But he got bored of that, and I was also curious about how well exactly these life vests worked.

So W went overboard, and just held onto the float with one hand and held onto my hand with the other. I didn't just toss him into deep water or anything to see how the life vest worked, so I still am not sure how it would work in an emergency. But it totally keeps him afloat when he's just holding on to me with one hand. If he started thrashing around I think he could get his face wet, certainly, but the vest does seem to keep him afloat. W even started swimming around a little, kicking his feet and turning around and stuff.

I'm going to have to think about how to get some swimming time in for him. The bottom of the pond is problematic, I think because it is such a new pond the bottom is particularly muddy. So wading off the sand into deeper water isn't the best idea. Actually just walking around the sandy part still caused W to lose a shoe; I didn't realize his shoe was gone until he made it ashore, but I went back and felt along the bottom on the path he took to walk in, and recovered it. But I had to do it by feel, even at 12" deep I can't see the bottom once we're in there stirring up the mud.

Maybe I could wear a life vest, too, and we could take a little inflatable boat or my regular float and go to a deeper part of the pond, then swim around there. Then we won't get stuck in the muck and we'd get practice swimming. Or at least, get practice doing some of the motions of swimming. W still doesn't have a proper kick figured out. I don't figure it's really swimming if you're wearing a life vest and not keeping yourself afloat, but all we need to do is start training W in the mechanics. We can test out his actual swimming skills in a pool or out at Mint Springs where there are life guards and a sandy floor.