“Granna, I want to swim to the island!”
(bear with me folks – can’t find my camera’s cord to transfer pictures over! I’m sure it’s in the bedroom that Cameron’s asleep in. I’ll pop on tomorrow and update with pictures. I’m pretty sure that my last picture-laden post has a pic that includes the island in it, so you can see how far I mean)
We had paddled around the island in kayaks on one of our first days here. He’d been to the island on Puff, the rowboat, with Granna. They’d talked about swimming there, and explored the small island. It’s an easy swim for an adult, or even for a kid who is a competent swimmer – but a three and a half year old who can’t swim yet? It’s one thing to go swimming with him in a pool, where he is either clinging with starfish strength and weighing you down, or letting go in random fits of “I can swim!” It’s another thing entirely in a deep lake. Still, he was inspired, and determined. We could distract him for a bit, but not for long. Always, when whatever fun activity we cooked up was completed, he’d ask, “Can we swim to the island now?”
Luckily, the day we arrived in Ottawa, Janice – Cameron’s Grandma – had a suggestion when we went swimming with my little cousins. The kids in the lessons tie foam ‘noodles’ around their middles. We tried it, and found that Cameron suddenly could have some independence in the water. It held him in a swimming position, and he could kick and move around.
Our first swim attempts in the lake were with Cameron wearing a life jacket. Not so good. They’re not made for swimming in, and he had to fight to stay upright. Then we got the noodle.
Not only did we swim to the island – we then walked to the far point, and spent some time jumping in from there. I’d say the swim back from the jumping rock was twice as far as the initial swim. That’s a long swim when you’re just three and a half, even with a foam noodle supporting your middle.
Then nothing else would do, Cameron had to jump off the dock.
Cameron was one exhausted boy as he stood wrapped in a warm towel on the dock, but oh my he was happy. And proud. Just about bursting at the seams with self-confidence and pride.
(I must note that in no way is a foam noodle an alternative for a proper PFD or for constant attention. Cameron was never more than an arm’s length from at least one attentive adult. If you try this trick, be aware that with motion the noodle may untie. We secured it with large elastics, but even still didn’t trust it entirely)