The first time I took Beau to the beach he was 10 months old. I sat him down on the sand and after taking a millisecond of hesitation to process the gritty new sensation of sand he crawled directly into the ocean: waves crashed over him and he, undeterred, trudged ahead like a speedy loggerhead turtle.
And so began his time in baby jail-- aka-- the pac-n-play. Yes, it was a huge pain in the ass to lug the thing down to the beach everyday but it allowed us to actually sit on the beach and build sandcastles with Carmella without fear of Beau going out to sea.
Later that same summer at the pool I turned my head briefly away and he crawled into the pool. He swam for a few feet and then began sinking. I spent the rest of the summer also dragging baby jail down to the pool.
The next summer, when he was almost 2, he had been climbing out of baby jail since he was 15 months so I knew that was no longer an option. I thought maybe I should instill a healthy fear of water in him. Upon our first trip to the pool I put his water-wings on him and tossed him into the pool. There was an audible gasp from mothers around the pool. And then dirty looks when Beau popped back up crying. Beau though, was afraid--- for maybe an hour. He spent the summer swimming all over the pool, going down giant water slides and jumping off diving boards with those water-wings on.
Last night I had a preview of my summer. Ryan was giving Beau a bath and called me upstairs. "Hey, watch this" he said (those famous redneck last words). Beau looked at me, mischievous grin, and ducked under the water. He stared up at me from the bottom of the tub, completely immersed, eyes wide and holding his breath. After what seemed like a minute, he rolled over and came up laughing, so proud of his new trick.
I guess I should have paid more attention when Beau told me Sunday that he wanted to work at the aquarium.