One of the many joys of being a parent is introducing new experiences to my kids.
There’s nothing quite like that look of astonishment on their faces when they learn the thrill of something new to them.
With 21-month-old Carson, introductions to new things come fast and furious, as it’s the simple things that give him the most joy. For example, simply walking through my legs, or a “tunnel”, tickles his funny bone, as does walking up stairs and running away from me when I call him.
With 3-year-old Beckett, first experiences are a much bigger deal these days, as they are usually major things in his world.
For instance, Beckett learned what it’s like to jump in a pool from a diving board on Saturday for the first time and then went for his first boat ride on Sunday. What a weekend he had.
Let’s talk about the diving board experience first. Beckett is a serious water bug, having grown up around a pool and consequently is quite comfortable around water. As a matter of fact, he’s becoming a little too comfortable, pushing the limits of late by jumping in backwards, running at full speed into the pool, trying to leap on a boogie board that’s in the pool and even trying to dive in headfirst (which usually results in a horrifying belly flop).
I find his antics hilarious and love the fact he is infatuated with the water at a young age. His no-fear approach to life is best on display at the pool.
Of course, with this zeal comes complete recklessness.
That’s why we never let him loose around the pool without his arm floats. We do not need to let him go to see what he will do. He will jump in the pool with or without his floats, and he’s not that accomplished of a swimmer yet.
For Beckett, though, once he has his floaties on, it’s swimming time, and he does not find the need to walk into the pool slowly to get his bearings. He just leaps in and has no care in the world if it’s too cold.
That’s why his first encounter with a diving board at a neighbor’s pool was met with such excitement. I knew ahead of time as soon as he saw it he was going to go directly for it, and there would be no reasoning with him to do anything else.
I was actually excited for him and his reaction did not disappoint. He watched an older boy launch himself off the diving board and immediately walked directly to it, saying, “Can I daddy, can I?”
That’s when I jumped straight in the pool so the fun and games could begin.
Beckett wasted no time, leaping into the water the first of what had to be 50 jumps from the diving board. Before each jump, I was there to remind him to “walk, no running” and “no diving”.
What I remember most is the expression on his face as he left the diving board to jump in the water. He gets to excited that he enters the water with his mouth agape every time. It was pure exhilaration. That’s not only hilarious but also thrilling for me.
Seeing your kid have so much fun is such a treat to behold.
Fortunately, I only had to wait a matter of hours to see that precious look on his face again.
This time it was on his first true boat ride through the coastal bays (thanks to our neighbors Dave, Sara, Hayden and Opal Hambury).
On the ride to the marina on Sunday morning, I started explaining to Beckett what we were about to do. He’s a kid who likes to hear what we are going to do beforehand, invariably responding with a corny “sounds like a good plan, Stan.”
After a few minutes of convincing him that we were not going to Dunkin’ Donuts (“so I can have six donuts” he likes to say), I told him about our upcoming boat ride adventure.
Although there were some initial concerns about the noise of the motor on his part, all those fears were allayed as soon as we pulled into the marina.
He was in absolute awe of the sheer volume of large boats, asking as we passed each one if he could drive it and spatting off a series of relentless questions, some of which I had to fudge the answers to. For instance, when he asked why every boat was white, all I could immediately muster was, “because it’s classy.” To which, he said I like “red boats more.”
Once out on the boat, his fascination did not let me down. He had the most fun when Captain Dave cruised at top speed. He particularly liked when every once in a while we would get sprayed with some water. That’s when he grabbed my sunglasses, put them on and laughed hysterically.
What he thought was particularly amazing was when we jumped off the boat in knee-deep water. When he realized he could touch the bottom, I think that just about blew his mind. When we were walking on a tiny island in the middle of the bay, it did blow his mind.
It’s always interesting with kids what excites them and what doesn’t. While I thought he would be fascinated by the marine life on this little island and particularly the sea gull that was feasting on a dead crab, he was more interested in simply running around and falling down on his bottom.
Regardless, it was an experience he was still talking about days later, and for a parent that’s about as great as it gets.