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#1 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 02:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am upset because we went to the first day of outdoor swimming today (probably not for a couple of weeks after this because of the weather system moving in).

My son wanted to go off the diving board. He's 26 months. He dives. Feetfirst, headfirst, one meter, three meter, typical kid stuff just very early. I hire someone to go with me when he dives so that there is someone on the deck (or board) with him and I am in the water although I was planning to phase that out this summer. This pool let him go off the board last summer as a one year old, several times. So did several other pools, none of which are open and/or can I afford membership to on top of this membership.

We head down to the boards (with an adult babysitter) and the lifeguard and facilities manager decide he has to swim 25 yards without stopping or he is not even going to be allowed in the deep end. (With 2 excellent adult swimmers focused on him mind you.)

We swim in the shallow end (which is as over his head as the deep end -- when you're 36 inches, four feet or 12 is not a big deal) for a while and then he says he wants to go off the boards. I say, you have to pass your swim test. Well he wants to do it.

Bear in mind, I am a newbie parent. Mine are 3 and 2. Nobody's ever tested my babies before. And he has had no reason in the past to swim so far on his own. This is an entirely new concept, one I was not thrilled with and was hoping he would not be asking to do that day.

ARRRRGGGGG I should have prepared him a little better. He would have passed because I did not adequately explain "without stopping" and probably did not adequately explain "other side". The first time he went halfway and asked me to hold him. He thought he could rest and keep going. I told him he had to start over, and he understood that for round 2. So now he's already tired.

ARRRRGGGGG I should have put goggles on him. When he's wearing goggles, he swims more efficiently. What was I thinking? Not much. Second time he misses by MAYBE five yards. MAYBE three. He thought he passed because he was at the other side of the pool. Well hell he was!

The child is 26 months old. He does not fit in at the pool and I want him not held back nor do I push him other than heavily facilitating something I love anyway. Why does my baby have to swim 25 yards unassisted without stopping so that he is allowed to go off a one meter board five yards from one side of the pool? I don't want my baby tested at all. I don't want my baby crying when he thinks he passed and I have to tell him he didn't.

I don't want my baby to fail at something he wants ever, ever again, and sure not because I failed him. Yes, everyone's dream.

I can't sleep. The next 30 years are going to be really hard.

The next time we go to the pool, he's going to ask to go off the boards, and I am going to say you have to pass your swim test, and I'm going to become one of those nutso mothers if my baby pushes himself again and doesn't get rewarded for it. I am officially nuts. On the way out today, I told the facilities manager (privately) that he almost passed and when he passes, I do not want anyone to ever test him again. She said they would put up his picture in the staff room.

Because get this, I am not willing to coach him either. I am not going to take away the joy of swimming over this f'ing swim test. I'll make sure he gets as much pool time as possible before we go back again when the weather warms back up but I am not going to ask him to do one thing other than play until then. HE IS 26 MONTHS OLD.

Thank you for listening.
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#2 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 04:28 AM
 
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I bet he makes it soon. My first thought, though, is that no one ever asks me to swim 25 yards before I get in the deep end. Did they ask you to? Is that just a rule they have for kids? Do they make all kids do that?

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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#3 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No, they don't make all kids do it, but they reserve the right to. I've never seen a kid swim tested, nor have I ever seen a kid who looked >3 years old challenged about going off the boards.

It's not a horrid rule, but it's rarely applied.

I don't think there is a deep end rule, but there is a catchall rule about lifeguards having final authority.

He's in no danger, as I would be in front of him 5 feet or so during any swim test as I was yesterday, but I don't like him having to jump this hurdle. He'd be in no danger of drowning in the deep end either, unless I had some sudden health problem develop. It's not required of many children, no. He makes them nervous because he is so young. I can appreciate that. He makes me nervous sometimes.

We had a similar problem at the gym this year but there was no formal testing issue. It worked out before he got banned
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#4 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 10:47 AM
 
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So how does a 1 year old get banned from the gym?

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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#5 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So how does a 1 year old get banned from the gym?
Diving into a forward roll (or attempted forward roll resulting in a bounce flip) on the trampoline without taking the body weight onto your hands.
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#6 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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Okay, you are going to hate my answer, but here goes.

I don't see the big deal. Part of life is that there are rules. It is reasonable and responsible in my opinion for a facility to set a performance based safety rule. If it was an arbitrary rule based on age, I could see why you'd be upset. But, what they are asking for to me doesn't sound unreasonable but appropriate to help insure safety. While you think there are adults focused on him at all times, there is of course not an guarantee. People could be distracted - by another child in the water struggling, by a fight, by a fall, by anything. Also, there is always the possibility of a kid who gets confident that they are fine in the deep end to be jumping in when adults are distracted. Further if he doesn't understand "without stopping" I would say he doesn't get one of the basic rules of safety in the pool. He can't just stop in the middle and always expect someone will be there to hold him.

I'm guessing most little kids would accept the test as a matter of fact requirement, it is adults with their issues about tests and what they mean that would read more into it.
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#7 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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Oh my god, I totally agree with Roar.

Swim tests are very normal where I live for children, before being allowed into the deep end. I don't think it's unreasonable at all at a community pool, no matter the age. I would be more concerned about making it a big deal emotionally for your son (as per your upset reaction that it's unfair, unnecessary, or a huge hurdle) instead of just acting like "no sweat, when you can swim from here to there, you can go off the board, no biggie."

Failure is part of life. It's better to get "good" at failure and learn how to learn from it rather than expecting perfection right from the first swim. Less stress, more enjoyment, more risk-taking in life. You're modelling how to react to failure for your son - so think about how you react to these rules, struggle, and having a goal.
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#8 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, you are going to hate my answer, but here goes.
I don't hate your answer. I'm trying to be cool about it. Failing, internally at least and probably not only, clearly.

While he is a good communicator for his age, these issues would be a lot easier to face at 3 or 4 instead of just turned 2.
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#9 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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Where we live, we have a water slide into our town pool (it's not huge but it's decent size) and the rule there is that a person either has to swim the length of the pool or be over 48 or so inches (which would make it so they could touch the bottom) to use it. I don't think it's a big deal, my kids don't think it's a big deal. It is what it is. I hope everything works out for you.

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#10 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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I'm sorry you are frustrated. I think you are reading a lot into what happened. It seems reasonable to me - for a pool to require him to pass a swim test to be in the deep end, or use the diving board.

It is really just smart business on the pool's part. Because if they let each parent do whatever they deemed fine for their own kids, you could have non-swimmers in the water unsupervised by a parent or supervised by an 8 year old sibling, right? That parent's idea of acceptable might be different than yours or mine or anyone else's.

If they didn't care (and I'd try to look at it that way - they are trying to keep everyone safe at their facility, not just make you mad with unnecessary and arbitrary tests), and didn't test little kids who wanted to be in the deep end, and then a child drowned, do you know what the lawyers would ask at the trial? "WHY was a TWO YEAR OLD in the deep end of the pool?" Because I'd guess that most people keep infants and toddlers in the shallow end.

I have three kids, and have had them all in swimming pools many times. I don't remember ever taking any of them into the deep end. Can't think of why I'd need to. Yes, my younger two get upset that they don't get to slide down the slide (into the deep end) when their oldest sister is allowed to. Well, she can swim the length of the pool; is a strong swimmer; is old enough to understand that if she is tired, she can float on her back for a minute before continuing on; has been in lessons for seven summers now.

Personally, even if he passed the swim test, I'd rather keep him in the shallow half of the pool. Because he is really young and can't always understand what is asked of him in regards to the pool, and (like another poster said) assume that the deep end is an acceptable place for him and jump in when you aren't looking/ready.

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I don't want my baby to fail at something he wants ever, ever again
I hope you change your mind about this. You really want him to get everything he wants at first try? The real world will be a very upsetting place for him if his childhood could actually go this way. It can't, so it isn't much of a concern. I just think you will be happier if you accept that he will try and fail many, many times. It isn't a bad thing. It is part of his job as a kid to try things that may be hard. Some of these things he will not be able to do at first. You want him not to try for fear of failing? It is your job to be supportive whether he fails or succeeds. Don't feel badly if he fails; just hug him and tell him he'll try again. If you are visibly upset, he will think he disappointed you. Acknowledge that it was hard, but that he tried hard and you'll practice, and he'll try again! Make it ok for him to try new things.

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I can't sleep. The next 30 years are going to be really hard.
I remember when my first was my only. I got really emotional about each issue or perceived wrong. I have three kids now, oldest one is almost 11. I wish I hadn't wasted so much emotional energy, and put my dd, my dh, myself through all that stress. Now, I get worked up about very little compared to my early parenting years.

The pool requires a 26 month old to pass a swim test to jump off the diving board. That seems perfectly reasonable to me; it really does. Wasn't like they let all the six year olds jump in, but tested your six year old because he had a red suit on.

There are rules - at the pool, at school, everywhere. Some are worth fighting; some aren't. As an example, my dd1 (the 10 y.o.) has Heely's (those shoes with the wheels on the bottom of the heel). She loves them and wears them as much as possible. Some places don't allow kids to wear them. Yes, she is disappointed when that happens. I don't find disappointment to be a major problem; she deals with it. She thinks of good places where she can wear them, and loves going there. I understand that some businesses don't want the liability of kids "heeling" in their establishments. Some kids have gotten hurt. I know that, and am still comfortable with my specific child wearing them. I do not however have the right to make all business owners let her use them in their place of business. I can choose to go to stores that allow them; that is my right. You could find another pool that doesn't have the same safety rules if having your 26 month old jump off the diving board is important to you. It is your choice to do that, and it is the pool's choice to hold to their safety rules.
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#11 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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Hunh. Well, I'm not trying to make you feel worse. It just occurred to me that it could easily be a case of them thinking that there's no way a 26-month old could go off a diving board, so to come up with a test to prevent it. The comparison I was thinking of was, yeah, kid, we'll let you in the adult section of the library when you prove you can read these couple passages of Dostoyevsky, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. But it sounds like the rule is used consistently. He'll make it soon!

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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#12 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 05:51 PM
 
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Hunh. Well, I'm not trying to make you feel worse. It just occurred to me that it could easily be a case of them thinking that there's no way a 26-month old could go off a diving board, so to come up with a test to prevent it. The comparison I was thinking of was, yeah, kid, we'll let you in the adult section of the library when you prove you can read these couple passages of Dostoyevsky, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. But it sounds like the rule is used consistently. He'll make it soon!
I don't see it as at all comparable. A kid doesn't need to be able to read Dostoyevsky to enjoy the big adult book of dog breeds or dinosaurs or whatever. But, it is reasonable to say that a child should be able to swim 25 yards so we know they won't drown. The test is related to insuring safety in a very dangerous activity.
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#13 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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I'm with the rules are rules group.

I worked as a lifeguard, and swim tests were standard practice for children before they could go into the deep end. On a number of times, I had to go in the water and rescue a child who thought (and whose parents thought) that he/she could make it just fine, and they couldn't.

At our pool, no one was allowed into the landing area of the diving board when there was someone else jumping off the board or whatever. If you need someone to catch you, you're not big enough or strong enough to go off the board. You have to be able to swim the 25 yards, because you get disoriented coming off the board. You go under water, you have to get up to the surface and to whatever side you can find. Sometimes that takes a while. The guards need to know that your child can do that.

However, we also had a very small child who was an amazing swimmer. She was on the swim team at 3 years old. Her mother would stand outside the pool next to the diving area and wait for her just to keep the other parents off the guards' backs for letting such a small child in (small for her age as well). We all knew who the girl was because she was on the swim team, and she had been in swimming lessons. Perhaps you can get involved that way? Most pools have a very small group of staff. If you get involved a little, they'll all recognize you, and you won't be hassled. Especially if you stand out as much as a 2 year old who can swim so well.

Mom to K (06.23.06) & A (09.13.09)
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#14 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 05:56 PM
 
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While he is a good communicator for his age, these issues would be a lot easier to face at 3 or 4 instead of just turned 2.
At risk the world exploding from the weirdness of it all, I'm not going to agree with flyingspaghetti. This is all about your tone and the way you play it. It is a reasonable thing for a kid to learn that yes there are safety rules in life. I'd try to work through your stuff about testing and treat this as the minor matter that it is. There will be other limits in life - you aren't tall enough for this ride, no running in the street, you have to wear a bicycle helmet, you can't be left at home alone until you are able to follow the safety rules.

Also, I'm going to say that swimming isn't just about athletic ability and learned skill, but being safe also demands some cognitive maturity. If the kid isn't mature enough to understand there is a rule, I'm not sure they are mature enough to understand they can't just stop in the middle of the deep end and assume someone will be there to hold them.
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#15 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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At risk the world exploding from the weirdness of it all, I'm not going to agree with flyingspaghetti. This is all about your tone and the way you play it. It is a reasonable thing for a kid to learn that yes there are safety rules in life. I'd try to work through your stuff about testing and treat this as the minor matter that it is. There will be other limits in life - you aren't tall enough for this ride, no running in the street, you have to wear a bicycle helmet, you can't be left at home alone until you are able to follow the safety rules.

Also, I'm going to say that swimming isn't just about athletic ability and learned skill, but being safe also demands some cognitive maturity. If the kid isn't mature enough to understand there is a rule, I'm not sure they are mature enough to understand they can't just stop in the middle of the deep end and assume someone will be there to hold them.
Yes huh you ARE agreeing with me! Are too! Are too! Or, at least I agree with this statement, so supposedly we're on the same planet. Today.

I especially agree with the last paragraph, when I'm not spitting my coffee out from laughing. Because that's JUST the sort of thing a two year old would assume. That or assuming that they've turned into the mermaid Ariel.
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#16 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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Is he swimming with a floatation device or completely unaided?

I wouldn't see the problem if he was wearing something to help keep him afloat and you were right there, but I can see where testing is required if he's swimming completely unaided. He may be able to swim after all, but he's young and things can go wrong very quickly.
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#17 of 30 Old 04-05-2007, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He's completely unaided.

I remember once last summer a guard at another pool we go to came up to us and said DS needed a life vest in the deep end. But I said, "Oh, he swims, look," and DS jumped in and swam to the ladder and climbed back out. After that he was just a favorite -- that is generally the response at the pools, at least last year when he was one.

I used to be a lifeguard / WSI. I'm not unsympathetic.
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#18 of 30 Old 04-05-2007, 11:50 AM
 
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Yes huh you ARE agreeing with me! Are too! Are too! Or, at least I agree with this statement, so supposedly we're on the same planet. Today.
Okay I'm laughing at myself...I was trying to type that I agreed with you...but my brain just couldn't make my fingers do it apparently.
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#19 of 30 Old 04-12-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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1. I can't believe Roar and FSM just agreed on something. What is the world coming to!

2. To the OP, try not to worry too much or get too worked up. This will work itself out, probably sooner than you think. I bet he will pass the test soon--sounds like he's really close!
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#20 of 30 Old 04-12-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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1. I can't believe Roar and FSM just agreed on something. What is the world coming to!
Yet another problem caused by global warming?
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#21 of 30 Old 04-12-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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Umm, sorry to disagree with you, Roar. I would say it's the lack of pirates.
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#22 of 30 Old 04-13-2007, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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To follow up, our newly discovered indoor pool option has not problem with him diving. Yeah!

His main move yesterday was to make it only 3/4 of the way through a flip, and end up in a backflop, over and over. See, this is why he is a favorite.

However, in other safety news I expect they filed an incident report when he wedged his head in between the hand rail and pool wall by the steps in the shallow end of the shallow pool. I had the guards come help me get him unstuck and one of them quipped, "We should put a 2x4 in between there or something."
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#23 of 30 Old 04-14-2007, 01:16 AM
 
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Here's a question: if's he is only 26 months, couldn't he just jump off the side of the pool in the shallow end??

My six year old nephew is like that in the water- he wasn't at such a young age, but at 3 & 4, he'd just jump in & do the craziest stuff... People get a kick out of little kids swimming!
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#24 of 30 Old 04-14-2007, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's a question: if's he is only 26 months, couldn't he just jump off the side of the pool in the shallow end??
If I held him back and disciplined him not to dive headfirst, yes. But I do try to not hold my kids back from what skills they are internally driven towards mastering. The dangerous part of the diving board, for him, is the climb up. I spot him on that. Once he's over the water, he's pretty safe.

He thinks it is more fun off the board. I remember being a child, and I don't blame him.

My 3 year old is content to jump off the side, and occasionally attempt a headfirst dive.
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#25 of 30 Old 04-14-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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Ahh. I see. I was thinking since he isn't as tall, he might be allowed to dive off the side, into the 4-5 area, where you are standing...
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#26 of 30 Old 04-14-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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I completely empathize with what you are going through. I have a 2 year-old like yours. I like to say he's 2 going on 12. The drive to do things without the ability or maturity to understand why they can't or shouldn't due to rules, expectations, or whatever is a constant struggle. It's tough. I hope it will get easier as he gets older and we can communicate better about limits, patience, rules, etc.
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#27 of 30 Old 04-14-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got DH to go to the "friendly" pool today so I have some video of him doin' his thing. Now if Mommy was only clever enough to know how to get the video into the computer. (I think the answer is to get Nana to bring her notebook over LOL.)
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#28 of 30 Old 04-14-2007, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I completely empathize with what you are going through. I have a 2 year-old like yours. I like to say he's 2 going on 12. The drive to do things without the ability or maturity to understand why they can't or shouldn't due to rules, expectations, or whatever is a constant struggle. It's tough. I hope it will get easier as he gets older and we can communicate better about limits, patience, rules, etc.
I would just love it if they would give him something if he near-misses the test again. Y'know, like let him go off three times and then try another day. I don't like my little baby getting nothing. Psycho mom.
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#29 of 30 Old 04-24-2007, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Today was our first time back at the outdoor pool. I prepared him better for the task and he passed. The lifeguard actually did want to fail him for his age because he might not understand directions or a big kid might make a wave (she said). I said the facility had already told him when he swam it on his own he was passed, period. She backed off and he had a fun time diving.
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#30 of 30 Old 04-24-2007, 12:20 AM
 
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Yay little guy!

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
supervee is offline  
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