Water Baby, Water Boys

Lately I’ve been dragging the kids to the pool once or twice a month. Ostensibly this is for Mica, and she does love it — when I set her down next to the gentle ramp down into the water (for this particular pool is well designed for little children), and take her hands to let her walk, she charges immediately into the water, making her little excited baby sounds. When she gets too deep I pick up her and float her along on her belly, drifting her gently whichever way she looks, while she kicks and splashes and occasionally tries to taste the water.


But if I’m completely honest, while I do love getting her into the water, she also functions as a convenient excuse to get the boys into the water. They have no objection to playing in water per se, but it’s infrequent enough in their lives that they haven’t seemed to love it the way I did as a kid. They have developed a fear of putting their faces in the water which I admit I’ve had trouble working around, since I don’t actually remember struggling with that myself. For a while I tried coaxing them to actually do things like blow bubbles; Ryan still hasn’t quite managed it, and Nathan did it once, clearly under duress, and then refused to get into the pool at all the next two times we went.


But I am still hopeful that repeated exposure might get them past the worst of their disinclination. There’s actually an advantage to me holding Mica — being unable to play much with the boys while I manage her forces them to get creative. Last time we were there Ryan began playing with one of the floating mats, and I noticed that his head got plenty wet without him complaining about it. Nathan, too, finally joined in on it, and for the first time I had to coax them out of the pool, on the grounds that Mica was exhausted and just generally done.

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