Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Big Blue

Back when DVD players were the latest technology, Big A and I were a new couple. As he loves movies as much as I do books, for our first anniversary I got him a DVD player and a film that a friend sent over from Amazon US. DVDs were fairly expensive then, and there was a limited number of locally available films.

The movie was Luc Besson's The Big Blue, one of Big A's all-time favourites. A certified technical diver and former national swimmer, he has probably spent more of his lifetime in the water than on land. His son has clearly inherited this love of the water, as I am, despite all efforts to change this, very much a land creature. Graceful on land, having spent most of my life defying gravity and standing on the tips of my toes, I am awkward in the water and have a dodgy right eardrum that makes diving difficult.

Little A first went swimming at about 9 months of age - the summer after he was born. He loved it, splashing around and flailing his limbs. Shortly after his second birthday, he escaped from our apartment and made his way to the swimming pool. By the time he was three, he preferred the big pool to the baby one.

In his third year, Little A taught himself how to swim. Slowly, carefully, by dint of much practice and holding on to our arms, he learnt to doggy paddle and got confident doing it for the length of our 20m, 5 foot deep pool. He also discovered floating and buoyancy at this time. Then, he moved on to dipping his face underwater, first practicing in the bathtub, and then in the swimming pool.

This summer, he mastered the frog kick and gained incredible speed chasing his dad the length of the pool. Simultaneously, he has discovered the joy of diving. Experimenting with his breath, he would plunge down as low as he could get, trying to get to the bottom of the pool. After reaching it with his feet, he tried sitting down, lying down, and doing somersaults.

One day in March, a neighbor's son had some toy cars by the poolside. Little A took them and dropped them into the pool, where they promptly sank to the bottom. Knowing he couldn't yet reach there, I prepared to put on my swimsuit and retrieve the cars, but Little A surprised me by diving in and getting them himself, one after the other. Delighted with himself, he dropped them down and did it again.

We've since bought some sinking swim toys, as he's been using the ones brought by swimming teachers and other parents. These days, 5 feet of water is no challenge at all for Little A, so much that he actually spent 5 entire days last week out of the water. One of the coaches who teaches some of the other children has taken videos of him, remarking that all he needs now is to learn the form for the proper strokes.

It would be great to see Little A follow his dad's footsteps in competitive swimming, and possibly scuba diving. The bigger challenge now, is getting him to don a pair of swim goggles so we can take him to the beach. 

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