While we were up in Grand Rapids for Dan and Lindsay's wedding, we tried to spend some time as a family. My family had a cabin on Sugar Lake when I was growing up, and it's a wonderful lake to take kids in. Since it was too cold for swimming, Mike and I decided to take the girls on a canoe trip. We put lifejackets on the kids and off we went.
Julia had a great time. She had her own paddle and was very well-behaved. Squishy, on the other hand, would NOT tolerate her life jacket. It was keeping her from getting close enough to stick her arms in the water off the side of the canoe, and she screamed blood murder with the thing on. The second I took it off, she grinned at me and toddled over the the side to see the water again. She has no fears. I was glad that the screaming was over. My head was beginning to throb.
Mike and I made a point to canoe within 20 feet of shore on our way out because Squishy refused to wear her life jacket. (OK, MIke....she didn't refuse to wear her lifejacket. *I* refused to listen to the screaming...) We were in 1-2 feet of water the whole time on our way out. I only paddled about five strokes the entire way because I was so afraid that Squishy's new blue hat might get in the water and float away. I was keeping one hand on my kid at all times. She was peering into the water and sticking her arms into the frigid Northern Minnesota lake, sometimes up to her elbows.
Here is the Squish, doing what she does best: 1. fearlessly leaning over the side of a canoe, and 2. manipulating her mom into letting her go without a life jacket.
Mom, THIS IS GREAT!!!
Well, on the way home, Mike and I were getting hot. We made a mutual decision to avoid taking the long way along the edge of the lake and instead "booking it across the bay." This involved traversing deep water. Making light of her screaming and hollering, we put Squish in her life jacket and started paddling like mad.
About thirty seconds later, amidst my furious paddling (the screaming was making my migraine come back), we heard a "splash." Then silence. Mike and I turned around, and sure enough, about twenty feet behing the canoe, there bobbed Squish, thankfully in her properly fastened life jacket, in a state of "cold water shock" due to her polar plunge.
We looked at each other. Our canoe, which had been going at mach-3, continued to streamline away from the baby, who was now beginning to gather enough composure to shriek again, this time MUCH louder than before. The Look he gave me was classic: "Sarah, I guess you'd better jump in and swim over to her. She is alone in a frigid cold lake. Wow. That life jacket really works as well as they say it does!"
Reluctantly, I took my shoes off and removed the belongings from my pockets before I lept from the canoe into the glacial waters. Luckily, all of those canoeing trips at camp had taught me how to leap from a canoe without tipping the thing. I rescued my screaming child and swam her to shore. Since the canoe didn't tip, our digital camera survived to take a picture.
I walked an angry Squishy back to the resort. About five minutes into our walk, she began to shriek again. "What NOW?" I wondered. I had already removed her life jacket.
She pointed to the water. I lowered her down into the frigid bath and she giggled with delight. For the love of Pete and George! She wants to SWIM.
Much to her joy, I dragged her through the water all the way home. I had more goose bumps than she did. Every time I tried to swing her out of the lake and over my shoulders, she let out another ear-piercing shriek. I think we just might have a water baby on our hands. A manipulative one at that.