To be quite honest, I don’t know how this happened.
I have been paying attention the entire time and, somehow, 18 months have already passed since the birth of my granddaughter.
She turned 18 months old on July 15 and it is both amazing and a little frightening how fast that time went.
Certainly, I have photos (lots of them) that chronicle her growth and change and plenty of precious memories already, it just seems crazy to me that she is a year-and-a-half old.
I look at the framed photo on a wall in my office taken last October, when we made the trip back east so my family back there could meet her. It’s a picture of my dad, me, my daughter Ally and granddaughter Lorelei – she was just nine months old and she seemed so big then. We waited until the fall as opposed to a summer trip so she would be more engaged, more aware of everything. She was, but the change from then to now is night and day.
My son-in-law Judd mentioned that they don’t have a baby anymore; they have a small little person, coming in to her own and learning by leaps and bounds. She has finally started to understand the concept of ‘yes’ and nods her head in agreement when she likes something, though the word is a little hard for her to form. ‘No’ she has down; that one was an easy one for her. She loves to shake that little head and tell you “No, no, no.” Never just once, it’s usually two or three times, to make sure you get the message. She also is very studious and likes to figure things out; you can see the gears turning when she is presented with a problem.
Earlier this summer, she took water safety classes and passed her final test – having to get herself in to her back float and hold that float for a specific amount of time while being fully clothed. Right down to wearing shoes and a regular diaper, which takes on water, as opposed to the swim diaper that doesn’t.
The idea is it mimics an accidental fall in to a pool; instead of panicking, she worked to get herself back up to the surface and on her back so she could breathe in air.
Her instructor did it in several different scenarios, including having her go in off the side of the pool and putting her in head first.
It was a month long program, four days a week, but in short lessons based on her age. And, true to what the instructor said, she screamed and cried … a lot. We thought that wouldn’t be the case since she really loves the water but this was a different animal. This wasn’t fun splashing with mommy and daddy; this was someone she didn’t know forcing her to do something at first that she wasn’t sure how to do. And even though she quickly learned that if she didn’t fight the instructor and just got into her float, the lesson went faster and better, she still screamed most of the time.
As did the girl having a lesson in the pool before her and the boy who arrived for a lesson after her. So it was all just part of the summer swimming safety experience.
The first time the instructor put her in the pool head first, she told Ally to turn around and not watch. That, of course, petrified my daughter and she wanted to know what was going to happen. The instructor just said Lorelei would be fine but it’d be better if Ally didn’t look. Well, Lorelei went in head down and was up out of the water and floating on her back in about four seconds. Before Ally could finish saying ‘tell me when it’s over’ it was over; Lorelei was above water and floating and kicking. It was a good start for her and next year I am sure we will be back for more lessons, with the focus more on swimming instead of floating. And hopefully with less screaming.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.