Jonah loves water. Bath time, “swim pool,” a water-table, the ocean, the slip n slide, waterfalls, a hose…even that birdbath in the picture above…they all hold intense appeal. I wonder at the why of his water-worship. Sometimes I think it’s because when I was pregnant with him, I reeeeeaally wanted a water-birth. (What I got, however, was almost the polar opposite: nearly 3 days of labor, 2 1/2 hours of pushing, and, as icing on that ridiculous cake, a C-section).
Whatever the reason, Jonah’s just as comfortable in (and under) water as he is walking about breathing air. Though never taught to swim, he seems to have always known how and will spend hours in the water. In fact, by the time he was 5, he swam more skillfully than I ever have; I shit you not. Watch this video from last summer (when he was 7) and see for yourself. (Jonah’s also at his heaviest weight ever in this clip. Last year we had him on steroids to combat an eye problem which later required surgery, and it caused weight gain – you can see his “moon face” and chunky build).
Nowadays he’s lean, and brown, and has close-cropped almost-blonde hair…
…but swimming is still on his favorites list. Our next door neighbor has a disabled child of her own and a small pool in her backyard donated by Make-A-Wish, and she lets Jonah come over and swim any time he wants – which is pretty much any time and all the time.
We’ve tried to take Jonah to local public pools, often with disastrous results. Jonah loves to run around and is admonished frequently by the lifeguards, who are ignorant to the fact that he doesn’t care one iota about silly whistle-blowing authority figures trying to ruin a good time. And oh, the joy of him deciding to wait until he’s swimming to push out some poopy! Although we use swimmy diapers (and lately special non-disposable gathered swim pants), it is nonetheless necessary to be hyper-vigilant. Usually we catch his tell-tale facial expression betraying the impending arrival of a poop; this requires the swiftest and most well-executed plan of action: swoop in and scoop him out of the pool, hoping he’s not already dripping discolored water, and secret him away to the restroom or some other non-populated area where we can change him.
This is never easy.
Jonah, of course, does not want to get out of the pool under any circumstances. He squawks, he screeches, and he sometimes cries, all the while fighting us as we dig around in the swim-bag for wipes, a plastic bag, and clean swim diapers & suit. Then, more often than not, we’ll have him all cleaned up nicey-nice and send him back in to swim, and he’ll do it again. And again. Probably it’s the same poop, and he’s pooping that one poop in fun-filled stages.
My heroic husband has singlehandedly taken Jonah to public pools all over Albany, something I have never dared to attempt. I much prefer the ocean …
or the falls …
…where, I theorize, if poopy should arrive, I might be able to just let it. But of course he’s never, ever, even one time, pooped at any natural water source. Probably he’s just messing with our heads, planning to poop at the most inconvenient times on the most inappropriate occasions.
When we arrive home from swimming anywhere, Jonah will often request a bath. Really, kid? More water? On Cape Cod last year, our vacation consisted almost entirely of eating, drinking, sleeping, and immersing in either (a) the ocean (b) the pool, or (c) a bath. We’d cycle continually from one to the next, like some family who’d spent so long crying agua in wasteland deserts that an abundance of water had become addictively compelling.
I’ve pondered the wisdom of turning his room into a big fish tank and simply tossing him in, but I’ll bet conventional society would frown upon this idea.
Besides, come poopy time, it would be absolute hell to clean.