Maddie is getting used to her chill time in the pool. She’s been more than happy to use her parents as a lounge chair and let them ferry her around the water. But things took a sharp turn Thursday morning when a dashing 9-month-old little boy named Blake joined her in the pool.
Blake obviously had a thing for older women and Maddie is just days away from her first birthday. They made eye contact from across the pool as Blake was being towed in a sleek little floatation device. Maddie prompted me to move in for a closer look.
A sly smile crept over Blake’s face as Maddie moved in, but she was playing it cool. Blake’s floatie had a few cups sitting on the bow and Maddie quickly helped herself to one of them. Blake winked at her, his eyes letting her know that there were more cups where that one came from.
Blake suggested that we move this show to the stairs and Maddie reluctantly agreed. I sat Maddie on the top step as Blake assumed the pushup position about three feet away. Maddie leaned over and grabbed Blake by the arm. The young lad took Maddie’s overt gesture in stride.
They stared at one another for about five minutes before it was time for Maddie to go. She doesn’t get too many opportunities to interact with other children, but like everything else, Maddie handled her business like a real pro.
The baby attacks have been coming at a torrid pace. Once Maddie hits the ground running, there is no safe haven. She attacks without warning and none of your possessions are safe.
Hats and glasses are obviously a big draw. Lately Maddie has been exploring the field of dentistry by trying to pull out my bottom teeth. Today at the pool, it appeared as if the baby had called a truce.
Maddie took turns letting each parent shuttle her around the pool. She had her legs up, some nice warm water and a pacifier to play with. She snatched the sunglasses off of my face a few times, but all and all, we were seeing a new Maddie. This was a kinder and gentler Maddie who was willing to hang out with the parents and pass the day away.
However, once we lifted the baby out of the water – all bets were off. Maddie’s mom took a little break on her stomach trying to dry off before the walk home. This sent our little junkyard dog over the edge. She started lunging at her mom’s hat trying to claim it for herself. I tried to hold her back, but she threw me into the fence and jumped her mom.
Rescue crews moved with the jaws-of-life to try and pry the hat from the baby, but it was a no-go, the hat now belonged to her. When the police came, the baby told them that she had found the hat by the side of the pool and had mistakenly thought it was hers. Mom tried to contradict the story, but a stern look from Maddie shut her down.
No one knows what finally happened to the hat, but Maddie assured her parents that this is only the beginning.
One step into the pool and I had my confirmation – the water was chilly – but was it too cold for Maddie? The baby was kicking like crazy and obviously wanted a sample. I lowered her into the water and as usual, she only wanted more.
It turned out that the water really wasn’t too bad. We meandered around the pool and after a while, Maddie was ready for her personal flotation device. She hopped in and it was all systems go. With Maddie’s churning legs, she got us up to about 40 mph. The casual observer must have thought we were racing around in a hydrofoil because of the 30-foot wake coming off of Maddie’s floatie.
Soon it was time to set her free and watch her explore on her own. Unfortunately, Maddie took this as an invitation drink and be merry. The only problem is that we don’t want the baby drinking and driving. As a matter of fact, we don’t want her drinking any water that comes out of the pool.
Unfortunately, there was no distracting her from this task. The more I interrupted her, the more she fought and clawed to drink the pool water. After about ten minutes, I realized that there was no way to sidetrack this obsession. So how do we convince Maddie that the pool is not a glorified fountain drink?
For now, we will have to keep plugging away until we find a solution to Maddie’s strange cravings. Of course it won’t stop us from going to the pool, but it’s nice of our little girl to add another twist to our rest and relaxation efforts.
Trying to accurately predict my 8-month-old daughter’s reaction to outside stimulus is nothing short of impossible. For three days this week, Maddie hated the very thought of getting near any water that was sitting in the tub. Today you could barely stop her from striking out on her own into the Atlantic Ocean.
That’s right, the baby who was afraid to take a bath can’t wait to climb into the ocean. It all started with a sudden keen interest with the sand between her toes.
I was feeding Maddie a bottle on the beach when her foot slipped off of me and into the sand. Suddenly the bottle was totally forgotten as Maddie struggled to immerse her feet deep into the sand. She kicked at it and did her best to get sand between her toes. She squeaked with sheer delight and was more than ready for crack at the waves.
We brought Maddie out to the water and let one of those mini-waves wash over her feet. Her eyes went wide with fear and apprehension as the chilly water rushed past her feet. But that lasted less than two seconds, as she started playing and splashing. Apparently the beach and the water really agree with her.
You could already tell that Maddie thought that dry sand was a fantastic invention. But she quickly decided that dry sand couldn’t hold a candle to wet sand mixed with salt water. She was completely in her element and had no desire to head in even after a half an hour. But with her fair skin, we can only expose her to the sunlight for so long.
Finally it was time for us to head in, clear out the sand and seek out the day’s next adventure. In just the past week, Maddie has mastered flying, swimming and body surfing. Tomorrow she wants to try some cliff diving mixed in with a little bit of parasailing.
Until this week, Maddie’s bedtime bath had always been full of smiles and splashes. But during this particular trip, bathtime has been a bust. Maddie has kind of spoiled us with her lack of fear for new experiences. She hit the pool for the first time yesterday like Michael Phelps. That’s why this sudden anxiety surrounding bathtime has taken her parents by complete surprise.
We’re not sure what the issue is, but Maddie seems to be afraid of the blowup tub. Bathtime has morphed into sheer chaos complete with screaming, crying and multiple early exits from the tub. Bathing the baby before bed has always been a way to soothe Maddie. Now bathtime is revving her up like a honey badger trying to remove the head from a live snake.
Take away the hard edges and confines of the hard plastic tub at home and the baby is obviously breaking down. As soon as she hits the water, she’s like a cat on the hot tin roof. She doing all she can to pivot and claw her way away from the water. The cushiony feel of the tub has Maddie believing that it might swallow her up at any moment.
So this evening we applied Jedi mind tricks to lure Maddie into the tub without having her erupt into hysterics. First we ran the tub before bringing the baby in. Second, we brought her into the bathroom with her clothes still on. And finally, once we got her undressed, I let her stand in the tub instead of lowering her into the water.
Once her feet hit the water, she went right back off the deep end. However, I kept just her feet barely in the water while assuring her that everything was under control. Realizing that she didn’t have to sit in the tub provided a great deal of relief.
The crying stopped, but she remained standing for almost a full minute. It was a very gradual process, but the baby finally trusted the tub enough to continue her normal bathing routine. She reverted back to the baby who loved bathtime right before our eyes. Hopefully we turned the corned on this little speed bump, but with Maddie, you just never know.
For an 8-month-old, Maddie continues to prove that you can’t keep a good baby down. If a couple hours on a plane didn’t bother Maddie, why would her first venture into the swimming pool be a big deal?
Fingers were crossed and blessings were said as we eased the baby into the pool. Maddie loves taking a bath, but this was a wide open pool with strange sounds and people everywhere.
As the water came up around her, Maddie looked completely undisturbed by the entire process. We got her in and she looked at us with those, “What am I supposed to do now?” stares. The baby was like, “Oh nice, that wet stuff – Is there a catch?” Heck, when it’s bath time, you can’t get Maddie to stop splashing for 2 minutes. The pool just wasn’t that exciting for her.
Maddie’s parents were just the opposite. We were scurrying around, taking pictures and setting the baby adrift in her new floaty toy. Other kids got in the water to check out Maddie, but again – Not Impressed! We finally had to give her some toys in the water just to avoid her demanding an immediate extraction.
So Maddie kicked around in her little pink French foreign legion hat and we kept splashing on the sunscreen to make sure those pink little cheeks didn’t turn red.
Before too long, the baby was ready to move on to bigger and more interesting pursuits than splashing around in a giant stinky tub. We hustled her back to the house for a well-deserved nap and she went down with minimal protests.
So now we have to wonder – what does it take to really impress this little thrill-seeker? I guess skydiving is next on the list, but that will have to wait until she’s at least 10-months-old. It seems that for now, the streets of Jersey City still provide more excitement than any other single activity we can get the baby involved in.
Hopefully we aren’t filled with a false sense of confidence. We still have gauge Maddie’s reaction to her return plane ride that is now just a few days off.