Sunday, August 9, 2009

Goal Accomplished and Suicide Attempt

This evening while we were at the pool, Connor decided he was going to go off the diving board. I asked the lifeguard if I could be in the deep end near the board when he went off in case anything went wrong, and she told me this was not allowed. She said that Connor would need to pass the swim test in order to go off the diving board, and that entails swimming 25 meters unassisted and then treading water for a minute. Possibly, Connor could do this, though it would take a L.O.N.G. time to swim across the pool. And afterwards, he would be fairly exhausted (his self-styled stroke is not the most efficient way to traverse the pool), so possibly jumping into the deep end of the pool would not be the smartest of moves.

I relayed the rules to Connor and he said he wanted to try it, so I went over to the lifeguard who was not in a chair watching the pool to let her know that Connor would like to go off the diving board, and I understood this to mean he needed to pass the swim test (even though a year ago a private instructor had cleared him to go). The head lifeguard was nearby and he has seen Connor swimming around all summer. He intervened and told me that Connor did not need to take the test. He said "he really only needs to be able to swim 3 meters. He'll be fine.", and so it was that Connor got to skip the swim test and head to the diving board. I waited on the side while Connor climbed up to the board. I glanced up at the lifeguard to make sure he was aware that a newbie was on the board. As Connor mounted the board, the head lifeguard sauntered over so that he could dive in, just in case things did not go as well as he predicted.

And Connor did it! He jumped in the pool, and swam to the side, and smiled. A really big smile. Some old neighbors of ours who knew it must be his first time off the board congratulated him on the feat.

And the next thing I heard?

"Now it's Helly's turn. Helly want to go off the diving board. Self. Self. Helly's turn now." And there was Helen, toddling to the deep end and then climbing up the diving board ladder. Unfortunately, Helen does not show any sign that she can predict when she is unable to accomplish something Connor can do, so unlike Connor at this age, I could not risk letting her walk the plank, realize she was in over her head, and turn around. Because if Helen walked to the edge of the diving board, you better believe Helen would jump off.

So I took an unhappy Helen to the shallow end and she jumped off the side and practiced floating on her back. I still hold her head when she is "floating" - but since Connor taught himself to float on his back about three weeks ago, Helen is convinced she can float on her back as well. In fact, while we were in Minnesota a week ago, she was rather surprised when she attempted this feat without my hands supporting her head and she ended up on the bottom of the pool rather than floating atop the water.

While I played with Helen, Connor jumped off the board another half dozen times, jumping off at the same time Ed jumped off the board next to the one he used (we had gone off together earlier).

Helen did have fun swimming tonight, but for about 20 minutes after I put her to bed this evening, I heard over the monitor. "Swimming. Helen go swimming. Helly's turn to jump off the diving board. Self. Self." I'm not sure if she was trying to convince herself that she went off the board, plotting to get to the board without being noticed so she can do it on our next trip, or just letting me know the injustice she suffered by virture of being 1 instead of 3.

We actually went to the pool twice today, and after our early afternoon swim, I knew Connor would attempt the diving board the next time he was at the pool (it was closed during our first trip). Unfortunately, I FORGOT MY VIDEO CAMERA so I did not capture the event on film. Connor did agree to help me make a movie of him jumping off the board the next time we went. However, he told me that maybe we should just make a movie of him swimming across the entire pool so that when Helen watched it, she didn't get upset. I thought that was very empathetic of him.

Congratulations, Connor. You've been working up to this for a long time. Connor announced on the ride home that he would like to do a twisting jump off the board next time, but Ed suggested that perhaps he should try from the side of the pool first. Hopefully, Connor will follow this sage advice.



  1. Way to go Connor. I gasped when I read "Now it's Helly's turn..." afraid of what I would read next!

  2. Whoa! Good job Connor! And, boy am I glad that Mia didn't see that. She would've just flopped right in beside you!