Baby X: 14 months
He’s a crazy walker now! What a beautiful, fun few weeks with him! His two first molars on the bottom came through and we recovered from a family-wide stomach bug, so night time has gotten easier as well (only two wake-ups…). As I expected, he started walking when I wasn’t really paying attention. He’s such an independent guy. I was on the phone, and he stood up and took a few steps. I caught it out of the corner of my eye and then chased him around trying to get a video. He’s walking quite stably for 20+ paces now but still in a funny, sweet, toddler-sort of way. I’ve been grateful that he’s dragging it out a bit so we can savor each step. KLC provides a fun target for him to chase around.
KLC: 3 years, 4 months
KLC has had HUGE growth after also recovering from a stomach bug. This might actually be my favorite week of parenting ever? It started just over a week ago with a big, brave action.
On the long list of perks of life on our island, one big one is getting to meet all the amazing visitors and acquaintances who pass through to see us or people we know. During Easter week, a family from Florida with 3 kids were in town and wanted to go out on the wakeboard boat as much as possible. Their host asked T if he would facilitate the boating, and we all went out with them on Saturday. The oldest daughter is 16 year old competitive skier, and she and the 6 year old daughter showed us how to get up wakesurfing with two people on one board.
KLC said, “I want to try!” So she did.
And then on Tuesday we had a play date with friends, and she instructed me to scoot WAY back, all the way to the other wall, when she jumped in the water. She jumped in and swam to me, coming up for air on her own!
We swam EVERY day this week because it has been SO fun to see her excitement. One of our neighbors had a swimming lesson for their 5 year old in the mean time, and KLC sat on our back porch to observe. (We hired the same swim instructor last year around this time, and KLC became irrationally fearful of the instructor after we finished our lessons. We told her she won’t have any more lessons with this teacher, who is very good and gentle, unless she says she wants them.) When we swam later, she started holding her hands over her head and belly-floppping into the water, effectively teaching herself how to dive! She must have seen the older kids learning diving. We quickly had to teach the “rules” about diving, such as only diving in the deep part.
It feels so amazing as a parent to see my child learn to face her fears and develop courage! I am also proud of T and myself for learning to step back when we wanted to keep pushing her swimming. I blogged here about infant survival swimming that we enrolled her in at 10 months and again at 18 months. In that post, I was fairly positive about our experience. Now, however, we question whether survival swimming is the best introduction to the water. We don’t plan to try it again for X. It did teach KLC to respect the water, but she didn’t persist with the skills that she gained, and her subsequent training with a much more gentle teacher ended up giving her persistent fears of being trained (not of the water itself, thankfully). As I reflect now, it is hard to separate our own pride systems (“wow, look at my skilled child,” “oh, she’s just like her daddy loving the water!” or even “I’ve trained her so well and now I can relax poolside while she swims”) from our desire to support her growth and safety. Parenting lesson learned. Or maybe I should say, “Parenting lesson in process.”