Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fish Out of Water

The first year that we went to the beach with Austin he was about 7 months old. He enjoyed sitting in the sand and being dipped in the pool, but exercised his little lungs when we would take him down to the ocean.
Here he is staring at the water silently begging me not to get him any closer. When I did...
This was the result. So, the next day we tried again because Mark was determined that HIS son was not going to be scared of the water.
As he marched toward the water, Austin was screaming in protest and clinging to his daddy for dear life.
As you can see below, he was not the least bit happy about this introduction to the deep, blue sea.
But, nonetheless we made him pose for the camera in his fearful state. If you look closely, you can see a large tear running down his left cheek. (Sorry, but I have to take a minute and reflect on what an adorable little face that is, regardless of the tears.)
Anyway, we eventually realized that the problem was that he didn't like all the noise generated by the large waves crashing onto the beach.
Last year he was one and half and things were dramatically different. He just couldn't get enough of the beach. Here are a couple shots from last year.

It was a drastically different summer vacation, but we certainly had to keep our eye on him with his new love of the water.
That brings us to the most recent trip to the beach. He didn't really remember being there last year, but recalled an episode of a kids show he likes to watch where they went to the beach. So, when we talked about it he did know what we were referring to.
The first full day we were there, his grandma and aunt decided to take him and his cousins down to the beach for a walk. It was a cool day so they were only planning on walking. However, when I got Mia down for a nap and went down to meet them I immediately could see that Austin had his own plans for the morning. He was soaked, including his hair, and my mother-in-law had a look on her face that communicated it all. He had no fear and had made an immediate dash toward the waves. He didn't care that the water was cold, the air was cold and he occasionally got knocked down by the waves. It was all part of the fun. They had a VERY HARD time keeping a firm hold on him to keep him from getting into "trouble."
So, the next day I sent Daddy on the morning walk. They decided to take shovels and pails to encourage the kids to play in the sand not the water. But, just in case, this time they were dressed in their swimsuits not clothes.

Initially, Austin was having a great time playing with his cousin and collecting sand.
Then he and Daddy started looking for shells and putting those in his green bucket.
While they were down there looking for shells he decided that it would be fun to splash around in the water from the edge of the waves.
He then pulled Daddy a little closer to the water so he could do some better splashing. It was shortly after that that he looked at the water and he and the ocean had a conversation. It went something like this:

"Austin...pssst....Austin...over here. Look at me. Don't my waves look fun and inviting. Wouldn't you like to play with me?"
"Yes, I think I would."
"I will chase you up the beach and then you can chase me back down. It will be a lot of fun. I promise."
"Okay, sounds like a plan to me. Let me just escape from the grip my Daddy has on me right now."
So, that is when it began. The constant attempt at escaping from the tight hold of Daddy or anyone else, so that he could go play with Ocean.
He would run toward the waves and let them practically knock him over. Then he would run away from them as though they were chasing him.
His cousin saw him having so much fun that she decided to join in.

Then Grandma came to spend some time with Austin. She tried to encourage him to use his shovel and pail to play in the sand. I honestly don't think he could even hear her. As you can see, he only had eyes for Ocean.
Believe me when I tell you that he is a really strong kid. And he is solid and heavy. So, holding onto him when he is throwing his whole body toward the waves is quite a task.
Grandpa finally come over to lend a helping hand. Austin put up a little protest.

Then he made a great escape. You can see the joy of freedom on his little face.

Grandpa finally caught him and then decided that he would take care of the cousins and let Daddy deal with the fearlessness of Austin. The girls were a little less enthusiastic about the cold water.

But, they all had fun when the big waves would hit. Although the girls would generally try to stay above the water, while Austin would try his darndest to submerge himself.
Eventually the adults were worn out and tugged the children back to the house where they enjoyed sitting in the "not-too-hot" hot tub.
Shortly after that I came outside to sit by the pool. That luxury didn't last long because Mark went inside to eat or play video games or something, and Austin came down to the pool with me. There was a kiddie pool, but do you think Austin could manage to just play in that shallow water while I lounged on the patio nearby? No way!
The kid is a fish and wants to be in as much water as possible.
He would jump in without me hanging on to him, but at least I have managed to train him to hold my hands when he jumps in. I let him go under when he jumps but have a firm hold on him so I can pull him up quickly. He loves it!

Look at that face! Pure joy!
He loves to be in the water and really loves to spin in the water. The closer to going under, the better.
Believe me that pool water, though heated, was still cold from a rain the night before and I really would have preferred to sit in the sun and enjoy the warmth. But, who could say no to a face and pleasure like this? It was worth the sacrifice on my part. I love my little fish!

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