Jamaica: FDR II…Love For Water Knows No Boundaries
As parents I think our three main responsibilities are to keep our kids safe, help them to grow up to be good citizens, and keep them happy. I think that last one is the thing that keeps us going sometimes, seeing the unbridled smiles on our kid’s faces. I mentioned in my prior post how Dylan really had a great time in the water on our vacation. She had a great time and it gave me a chance to really bond with her.
While we tried to take advantage of the nanny program with our wonderful nanny, Sharlene, Dylan still wanted to hang with Mom and Dad in the morning, instead of playing with our nanny, because we were going to the beach.
One particular morning she cried and cried as we tried to convince her she would have more fun playing with our nanny, as Mom and Dad were ‘all played out’. She cried and so we said come on.
Dylan and I played for about an hour in the ocean that morning then I told her I had to get out and rest.
She said, “OK Daddy, I’ll go to the Kid Zone with Skylar then and I won’t cry.” Atta way Dylan!
We went to a downstairs restroom where I could put some dry clothes on her. AFTER, I changed her she told me she had to go to the potty. I huffed and started to unpeel her play clothes. How dare her discomforts get in the way of my play time! 🙂
Dylan said, “Sorry Daddy. I didn’t want to pee in the ocean.” What a cool kid I thought. Even I don’t like the ocean THAT much.
When asked what Dylan wanted to do before we went on vacation without hesitation she would say ‘ride the big blue slide’. We viewed some videos of our resort on Youtube before we came down. Ol’ Miss Fearless wanted to have some fun combining a giant slide with her love for the water. Each day, we found out, I had to ask the lifeguards on duty to ‘turn on’ Big Blue, since the resort’s occupancy was so low. The lifeguard would give us a time for when Big Blue would be primed and ready. Once she got on the slide she would keep playing there until lunch. She would slide down and then I would pretend to race her in the water to steps at the other end. She loved it and never tired.
If you want to see what I mean, as well as some smiles and personality from Ms. DYLANism check out some of the fun on the video below.
But her love for the water and craziness was not restricted to Big Blue. As I mentioned earlier, each day she did something new and amazing in the water.
One day she finally held her nose and dove under the water. This had been a summer long project with no results. Now, finally, in the clear blue Caribbean, she said, “Watch this Daddy!”. Then she did it! No prompting. She just gave it a try.
The next morning, while we were swimming in the pool with “the red slide”, she uttered those same amazing words as she stood on the side of the pool: “Watch this Daddy!” Then she took a leap from the side and did a flip into the water! I gasped and laughed at the same time.
Where did this come from? She popped up from beneath the water with a big smile on her face (so cool to see). I had to laugh. She took my laugh as winning approval for her stunt. She made her Dad smile. She enjoys that about as much as I do seeing the smiles on their faces. “Hey Mommy, did you see what your daughter can do?”
The next day we rode in the resort’s glass bottom boat to a reef about 15 minutes away. I wanted to show our kids the colorful fish in the water in hopes they would be interested in learning how to snorkel with mom and dad.
We got to our destination and the staff threw some food in to attract some fish. Then, two other vacationers in our boat jumped in the water to do some snorkeling themselves. After about 5 minutes of watching, Dylan told me she wanted to get in the water too.
We all had our life preservers on so I thought why not. I jumped in the sea and then Dylan jumped into my waiting arms. She swam and kicked around a bit and then just flipped over on her back to float. She was so at ease doing this and smiling at all times. And then it hit me. She was floating on her back about a half mile from land in about 40 feet of water and didn’t have one care in the world. Amazing! A four year old that loves the water this much. I wish I would have brought our camera as it was such a Kodak moment.
We stayed in the water about 10 minutes or so. Everyone had returned to the boat so we had to make our way back. The boat was anchored at the reef. I know. I wasn’t a big fan of dropping and dragging an anchor on a reef either. However, the wind and tide had carried us both about 20 yards from our boat. So in an attempt to get her out of the water I said, “Come on Dylan, I’ll race you to the boat.” And that girl paddled and kicked her way, into the wind and tide, all the way back to the boat. Again, four years old! It took her a lot more kicks, given her size, then it took me. And she did it with a smile on her face.
One of the nice things about traveling is that you can meet some really nice people.This trip was no exception. On our first full day at FDR I saw a father playing with his two daughters in the big pool. I soon found the man had two daughters the same age as ours, ages 2 and 4. Both of his girls loved the water too.
They were from Switzerland. They had been to FDR before (yes, either brainwashed or magic). He and his wife knew how to play the nanny game. I could tell. Every morning, while they were off diving, Dylan got to play in the pool with their oldest, Lillya.
Both of these girls were shy at first. Reto, the father, said as much. But you could tell Lillya loved the water. And I think a mutual admiration quickly built. Lillya could do some things in the water Dylan couldn’t. And Dylan could do somethings Lillya wouldn’t dare.
That first morning they would watch each other after they came up from the water. At first, it seemed, they were watching to see what the other was doing. Later it was to see if the other was watching. If Dylan jumped in the water then Lillya would jump in from her side of the pool. If Lillya went down the slide then Dylan would. And both would show off with their Dads. It was cute to follow.
With the help of the Dads the girls were introduced. Then they played with each other in the pool every morning for the rest of the week. It didn’t matter that they could not communicate real well. Lillya did know some English. Lillya’s mother, Heather, was born and raised in the US. The girls mainly communicated by their love for the water and seeing and appreciating what the other could do. Dylan had met her match. They played all day in the pool that first day after the introduction. Then, as we walked back to the room at the end of the afternoon, Dylan looked up with the towel wrapped around her and said, “I think I made a new friend today.” You couldn’t help but be happy for her.
Take a look at some of Dylan’s and Lillya’s fun:
Both Heather and Reto were swimmers in college. And they educated their daughter(s) well in both English and swimming. She reminded me of Diane Lane with red hair. He looked like an Olympic swimmer. Both were special people and avid travelers. I am glad we all had a chance to meet. Once again I was happy for our daughter as she got to experience a little bit more of this big world with Lillya, although she couldn’t appreciate how far away and different the two girl’s lives actually were. Yet you could tell she did feel special for making friends with someone just a little bit different than the girls back home.
The last afternoon they played together. Reto tried to get his daughter out of the pool to get ready for dinner and so did I. Reto had trouble with his girl and then so did I. Dylan just kept swimming and playing in the water like she didn’t hear me. Finally, after my third attempt to get her out and my tone getting a little louder, Dylan yells back without looking up, “Princesses Rule!”
Well, a….a….yes, they certainly do.