Yesterday we went swimming. Noah’s only been a few times before, and Babu just once on his first birthday. They both loved it.
The last time we went, they were both nervous – Noah extremely so. He never loosened his vice-like grip on our necks, no matter who he was attached to. Yesterday, he didn’t want to hold on. Yesterday he wanted to do it all himself; without arm bands.
Noah can’t swim. Noah doesn’t like water on his face, in his ears or on his hair. No amount of me reminding him of this however would deter him from his quest to jump off of me, his aunt or his uncle into the watery depths. He launched himself onto floats, not caring that there was nothing to support him but a flimsy piece of foam and a metre of water. He dunked his face – a lot. He cried every time.
He kicked us, demanded we put him down; “let go of me” he ordered in his sweet, tenacious little voice.
He loved it.
Finally, after one and a half hours of this, and a final (accidental) full body dunking by his aunt, lots of panic, tears and comforting, it was time to get out.
I took Noah out first, drying him off and chatting about how much fun he’d just had. My sister and her fiancé brought Babu, and I got him dressed. In the midst if this, Noah was playing with his uncle. Too late, we realised what he was going to do.
With a bang of a door and a strangled “Noah”, he had locked himself in the cubicle. Noah’s only ever learnt how to open the slide-locks on doors. This one turned in an anti-clockwise motion to lock, clockwise to open. He couldn’t do it. We spent five minutes trying to coax him into doing it, explaining how to do it, but to no avail. We couldn’t climb over; they had bars placed across the top.
On my way to the reception I bumped into a lifeguard to whom I explained the situation to.
“He’s locked himself in?” he exclaimed, a smirk lurking in his lips. I looked at him stonily, with a frozen smile on my face, embarrassed, slightly miffed and worried that a giant hissy fit was about to come flying out of the locked cubicle. “Yes,” I replied. “He’s only two.” He laughed. “I’ll see what I can do.” he said, disappearing.
Five minutes later, with a lot of “open door mummy, open door uncle Steven, open door uncle Mantha’s” (no, it’s not a typo – he really can’t say auntie, so everyone is uncle) the lifeguard emerged carrying an impressive set of black weirdly shaped keys (much like you’d find on Mickey Mouse – “Which shape key should we use to open the door? Square? Right!”) and unlocked it.
I don’t know what I expected to find; Noah curled in the corner, crying, clutching his blanket to his chest, sucking his thumb in terror? Laid on the bench crying? Body half way under the edge of the cubicle, trying to escape?
The door swung open to him stood, giant grin on his face, holding his blanket as though he had not a care in the world.
Maybe if I’d have told him he wouldn’t have been able to watch Mickey from in there he’d have made more of an effort to come out?