It's hard when you have a child not to project your delusions of grandeur on them.
My lovely boy is 3 and already had shown us that he is a natural at not one, but two sports. He can control a soccer ball at full speed and also swim like a fish. Neither one was brought on by any lessons, but just a natural ability. Really.
Sure, we took him to a mommy and me swim class where he launched himself into the pool despite not knowing how to float. It was interesting when all the other 1 year olds were screaming as their parents dipped them into the water. Our boy cried when we took him out. A swimmer myself, I not so secretly was ecstatic. I learned to swim at 3, and pretty much lived in the water as much as possible. I raced in my youth, and as an adult joined a Masters swim team for a short bit. Even when I asked if he wanted to be a swimmer or diver and he said diver I did not cringe or cry. Hey, diving looks more fun. I get that. Last week was a big week for us. Or the week before, it's summer and I just finished up working a bunch of gigs so I really have no concept of time right now. But after seeing our friend's video of their daughter--age 5--going off a spring board, I decided to see if my boy could do it. I convinced the lifeguard to let my son go off at our local pool and into the dive well. Even though there is no way he could pass the swim test (25 yard swim, tread water for 1 minute), the lifeguards had seen my boy swim a lot and belly flop continuously into the pool for months. Since there was no one else in the pool (indoor pool, beautiful day) they agreed to let him go off once. ONCE. I drilled this into D's head just in case he loved it and decided to throw a huge tantrum if he couldn't do it again.
I went off first, to show him it wasn't that bad. Too bad I forgot that I'm scared of heights. One reason I never tried out for the diving team. And spring boards are really springy. It sounds stupid, but the competition ones (which this ones was) really move when you are on them. It's not just a plank like you may have in your inground pool. (By the way, I hate you if you have an inground pool.) But I went in, and then urged my little boy out onto the board, which was about 6 feet over the water.
Side note: please do not call DSS, my son was more than willing, can swim, and we had the lifeguard's permission.
So, the lifeguard kept reminding my boy that he could always just go back down the ladder, no big deal. I also said this, but urged him to jump in. After two minutes of considering it, he launched himself into the air and jumped in. It was awesome. He popped up smiling and swam over to the ladder, pushing me away when I tried to help. He said, just once to the lifeguard and then took a running leap back into the pool.
Of course, proud mamma bear that I am called my husband and told him immediately. Then I picked up a diving team brochure (2 years to go before he can join!). At home, in our Intext 8 foot pool, where we splash away our summer, D was happily swimming around, diving under the foam noodles. When my husband got home from work, D asked, "hey daddy, wanna see me back flip?" Thinking that D was just going to spin around going "whooooosh!" like most kids (I know I still do a round off back handspring back tuck like that) he didn't pay much attention, but said sure. Why not. Then D did a back flip in the water. He had just figured it out. At this point, I'm looking up private schools with 1st grade swim teams, but also trying not to push him.
Especially because he is the same way with soccer. I have never kicked a soccer ball in a real game--gym glass maybe. But husband played all his life and still is part of a team today. We go and watch and D runs on the field and plays during warm up. Except he is warming up with the team. With them. Kicking balls, doing fancy footwork stuff (see how much I know about soccer--stuff). But the team keeps saying to us...wow.
Of course the boy is 3. Maybe he's peaking. God I hope not, because I've already begun to campaign for Boston to host the Olympic summer games in 2028. D will be 18 and I think he has a shot.
4 weeks ago