Jack’s First Kiss

Monday June 13, 2005

Jack’s First Kiss

Today was the first day that the Davis pools were open during the afternoon. Coincidentally, it was also the first truly hot day in the valley. The high reached into the mid-90s for the first time this season.

Jack and I went to the pool for the first time together. I had planned to go in the early afternoon but Jack slept most of the day away. I laid him down at noon and he slept until almost 3 PM. That bumped back our schedule considerably but still left us enough time to get to the pool and back before Angela came home from work at 4. After Jack woke up at 3 PM I fed him, changed him into his pool clothes (Angela and I had bought him an aqua blue swim shirt and a diaper cover a few weeks ago) and packed his diaper bag with toys and an extra set of clothes. We were off and running by 3:15.

We arrived at the pool and immediately Jack became excited. The pool is right next to his favorite park. He thought that we were going to swing on the swings, slide on the slide, and run across the field today. I took his hand as we walked away from the car (I always hold his hand in parking lots!) and towards the pool. When he realized that there were kids in the pool swimming, he let out what I like to call his curious sound. His mouth forms and O and he makes a noise that sounds like "uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu?" Jack was very excited when we walked into the front gate.

Since Jack was a newborn he has been fond of water. He has never given us any trouble at bath time, that is until recently. We switched his bath from the kitchen sink into the bathtub upstairs a few weeks ago. Some nights he is fine with it, other nights he fights us the whole time. I really did not know how he would react to seeing a large pool of water. Although Jack has been fearless when it comes to Grandpa's sprinkler or the fountains at Central Park, I was wary of what he would do when confronted with the pool.

Jack was very interested in looking at all the kids playing in the big pool. I had to steer him away from the deep pool to the baby pool at the edge of the complex. I put the diaper bag down and started walking to the pool. Jack was unsure of what to expect. He grabbed my hand and hid behind my legs as we walked to the edge. Luckily, I had a toy cup that had holes in the bottom. We use these cups to keep Jack occupied while we are giving him a bath, they work like a charm. I filled the cup with pool water and put some on Jack's toes and legs. He giggled and smiled. I did it a few more times, getting other parts of his body wet and familiar with the temperature of the water. By the end of this process I was able to sit his rear on the end of the pool and have his legs dangle into the water.

I eased myself into the wading pool below him. The pool was one foot deep but had a ledge underwater that babies could sit on and not submerge themselves completely. It was about six inches deep. I put Jack on the ledge and let him sit down. I kept playing with the cup, this time getting his hair wet, and letting Jack splash around and giggle. We stayed that way for about 15 minutes when Jack started to ease his legs over the edge of the underwater ledge. His rear was still on the ledge, but his legs were dangling down to almost touching the bottom.

When I saw this I decided to bring him off the ledge and into the "deep" water of the baby wading pool. To his credit, Jack let me do it. The odd thing was that he did not want to stand up in the water, all he wanted to do was sit on my lap. So, I let him trade the comfort and safety of the underwater ledge for dad's lap. I held him close and whispered in his ear that I was not going to let anything bad happen to him in the pool, that I would protect him, and that everything was going to be alright. Jack is only 16 months old, so I am not sure what he understands and what he doesn't, but I tried to make my assurances in a soothing tone so that he would get the gist of what I was saying.

Jack looked at the kids playing in the water and was fascinated by all the activity going on around us. Occasionally he would giggle, smile, clap his hands, or splash the water in front of us. We were both having a great time! After a few minutes Jack decided to try to stand up. He put his feet on the bottom of the pool and used my legs to balance himself. He was a little wobbly at first but quickly got the hang of standing in his new environment.

Then unexpectedly the greatest thing happened. Jack turned around and kissed me on the left side of my face. Jack actually kissed me! This is a big deal because it is the first time that Jack has showed me that kind of affection. In the last month Jack is growing more comfortable in giving affection to the adults around him. He will climb into our laps when he is tired or needs comforting. Sometimes he even hugs us and pats our backs or arms. Jack will blow kisses to people but until recently has not made the connection about actual physical contact.

Two weeks ago, Angela was the recipient of the very first Jack kiss when she was on her knees preparing her bath. Jack just walked up to Angela and planted a kiss right on her cheek. It was very sweet and I'm glad that Angela was the first to get a kiss from Jack, but I couldn't help feeling a tad jealous that I hadn't gotten a smooch from the baby.

After Jack kissed me, he smiled and started walking away from me into the center of the pool. I gathered my wits and followed him to make sure that he did not fall underwater.

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Graham Stewart
See all posts by Graham Stewart