I saw two dolphins jumping out of the ocean, far past the waves, on Friday afternoon. I was looking that far out because Charlie was swimming out there too, having kicked madly through the water on his boogie board soon as he hit the beach.
We had timed Friday's beach visit to make sure the lifeguards would be there and immediately notified them about Charlie, his swimming prowess and his not understanding that you just can't swim out where the dolphins are.
The lifeguards were calm and observant. After Charlie responded to neither whistles nor parental entreaties to turn back (like the latter would work!), one of the lifeguards went out into the waves with a surfboard. Jim was in the water watching Charlie who had freed himself of his boogie board and was enjoying a swim in the surf.
Yes, enjoying. The whole problem is that Charlie is a super swimmer. He can swim with the dolphins; I'm sure he must think we were crazy to be yelling at him to come back -- but come back he had to.
The lifeguard had swam out to where Charlie was in no time. Charlie got right on his board and calmly rode in, with a last-minute dunking of himself under a wave. Then he stood smiling on the sand with me while Jim thanked the lifeguards, talked to people on the beach -- nothing like witnessing a surf rescue, even if the rescuee wasn't thinking he needed any rescuing -- and retrieved Charlie's boogie board, which had been washed quite a bit further down the beach.
Needless to say, it'll be only swimming with lifeguards for Charlie. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I do think he'll understand someday about not swimming out so far. For the past few years, we've struggled to teach him to "swim between the flags" and, as Jim pointed out, he had indeed done so on yesterday's swim.
Later at home Charlie was querulous, calling for Barney restlessly and not sleeping till after 2am (he is still awake as I'm writing this).[It's 3.30am now and he's still awake.] The beach is a place that Charlie has always felt strongly about and after such an adventure, of course lag would set in. The first blog post I ever wrote was about Charlie swimming: Those days of worrying about him standing too long on the diving board before jumping in have certainly evolved into something on quite a different scale.