Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fish Genes

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My friend, who was adopted as a child, calls it Adoptive Genetics--the things you inherit from your adoptive parents, the things you love because of your environment, the things nurtured in to your personality. When she saw what Matthew did yesterday she said, "He gets it from his momma."

In this case, I have to agree.

As I said in this post, Matthew basically taught himself how to swim in Hawaii. He's taken a total of two sessions of swimming lessons and the first session, back in April, consisted mostly of him glaring at his teacher and refusing to do anything. But he was pretty much in the Pacific Ocean from dawn until dusk when we were on Maui and the result is a confident, brave, fish.

When we go to the pool, which is at least a couple times a week, Garrett wants to spend most of his time in the diving pool, alternating between jumping off the board and perfecting his racing start. His racing dive, with only minimal instruction from me, is actually pretty incredible. So all he wants to do (over and over and over) is practice it. Yesterday, as Garrett was hopping off the diving board, Matthew told me that he wanted to do it.

I was pretty hesitant.

You can't have any kind of flotation device in the diving well.

The diving well is 17 feet deep at the end under the platforms and diving boards.

Matthew is not even three and a half yet.

"Pwease, Mommy?" he asked, his chocolate eyes big and begging.

As a parent I desperately want to find the balance between teaching my children to be safe and not instilling in them a spirit of fear. You're too little. It's too scary for you. Mommy would go into cardiac arrest. Are simply not good enough reasons to keep him from trying. There are three lifeguards on duty for this pool alone and I was standing six feet away. Even if he'd completely freaked and sunk straight to the bottom, I'd have had him back up to the top in approximately eight seconds flat.

He jumped twice before I had the presence of mind to go get the camera.

To put this into perspective, Garrett is often the youngest child jumping off the board. He's usually a head shorter than everyone else. Matthew is a head and a neck shorter than his brother.

The one thing Matthew hasn't figured out is that he can lift his head up to breathe. He thinks the only time he can take a breath is once his hand is safely on the wall. So, he would jump in, sink several feet, swim to the top, and then try to swim to the side all with only one gulp of air. While he was accomplishing this just fine, it was freaking me out a little that he wouldn't make it and he'd panic and that would be the end of his love for the water. 

That's why these videos cut out as soon as he hits the water. Because I would take the video, stop the video, put the camera down, and hop into the pool so that I could reach my arm out in case he needed it. The more he jumped, the more tired he got and the more he depended on my arm. But, even when he was tuckered out, he was still jumping, swimming to the surface, and kicking about four feet before grabbing my arm and taking a breath.

As for adoptive genetics, well, both of his biological parents have told me that they do not even know how to swim. But their son has managed to get some fish genes somehow.

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