Charlie is an Ocean Swimmer
We got to the beach after 3pm yesterday which was a good thing, as the lifeguards stay until 5pm and Charlie wanted to be a solo swimmer.
(To see the video in a wider format, go here.)
For years, years and years we've been worrying over how to teach Charlie to swim between the orange flags that the lifeguards post on the beach. We showed Charlie the flags and stomped back and forth between sand and waves, all the while knowing that the concept of 'swimming between the flags' is a very hard one to grasp, especially when you're swimming in the ocean; when you're swimming in the ocean and there's so much beautiful water and why can't you swim in all of it?
Jim and I—really, Jim, who is a far better swimmer than me and much stronger (like you didn't guess that)—had to resort to that most basic of tactics: Physically pulling Charlie back into the area between the flags; no small feat as that meant going against the current. This was never easy but not so impossible when Charlie was younger, smaller, and could be carried.
As you know, it's been some years since all that was the case.
Friday afternoon Charlie ran out of the rented minivan (that he had once again refused to sit in; the 'yeah, whatever, we know you don't want to get it in, you can say no a thousand times, we're glad you're telling us how you feel' approach does seem to work) to the beach. He tried a few waves on the boogie board and then asked to have the wrist strap taken off and then.
Charlie ran into the waves at top speed and headfirst and was out to sea. He inevitably drifted towards the rock jetty and then out of the bounds of the orange flag. Jim and I called out 'Charlie' and made exaggerated 'thataway' gestures (pointing south, the opposite direction). Charlie swam back to the shore and followed our pointing directives. He ran to the other orange flag, stopped short, looked at us, saw that we were saying 'yes okay' and ran in.
Repeat, repeat. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Jim and I each did some ocean swimming (the water was lovely and quite warm) but if Charlie keeps up the little routine he had going, we'll be able to do a lot more standing on the sand and 'just watching' than we have in the past.
Maybe it's time to get a beach chair.