It amazes me to be able to say it... but he swims. For real. I think I'll always be a little afraid of the water after a junior lifesaving class had me diving down to the bottom of a 12 foot pool to retrieve a dead weight nearly half again as heavy as I was when I was a kid. But Jet's never had that...
... and when I took him to the pool the other night, he had a little rainbow kickboard that he merrily took to the deep end, occasionally dipping his face in just so he could. He looked like nothing then a dolphin arcing to get back into the water, and his body motion was one single-purposed, muscular wave. Then, once in the deep end, he started "shooting" his board away from him, by pulling it under and letting go. He'd then swim to it, roll with it, get a breath to giggle, and then shoot it again!
Ack! For not quite knowing that he could swim, that was ack indeed. It scared the heck out of a father who had his girl clinging to him and two noodles when Jet paddled up on the kickboard. Jet said, "Look at me!" and shot the board away from himself, and the father leaped to "rescue" Jet but Jet swam away from him, wanting his board! When Jet got the board, the dad was like, "Oh, the little boy swims! Look, Carla, he can swim!" The bigger girl did not look pleased.
John told me his version of the same idea, but Jet was riding a noodle like an odd sort of seahorse. Jet said, "Look at me, Dad!" and dipped forward, and pushed, hard, to shoot the noodle out, backwards, from between his legs. The noodle flew a good distance. Jet started paddling for it, John tried to "save" him, and Jet neatly avoided him and went to his noodle.
It was even harder, for me, when Jet jumped off the side of the pool, at the deep end, and instead of making for the edge, he went to the middle of the pool before deciding to turn around and head back to the ladder. None of this mamby-pamby going right to the edge to breath and rest a bit, he just climbed up the ladder and did it all again. And again... and again...
I guess that's how he learns. Or maybe how all kids learn. Just do it. No knowledge or fear or thought of what might go wrong. Just grin, breath, and jump. Not a bad way to live...
Jet likes chess.
He has always loved John's handmade chess set, wood inlay board and lathed pieces. He asked me to get them down for him, and we went through the dance of the opening moves of a chess game. I was explaining how the pieces each moved to their own character. And he explained back to me how the Monster (his name for a rook, after seeing the first Harry Potter movie, I don't blame him) moves straight. The Pointy one moves like triangles. The Horse ("no, there's no knight. I don't see a knight, where is he?") jumps everything because see... horses jump (as Jet gallops around the room).
And then he proceeds to beat me, making his own semi-random moves, but once he figured out the "killing" he started getting serious with my taking a piece and him figuring out how to take mine. Okay, so he had help from me and from John, but we could both see Jet starting to get the idea of thinking at least one move ahead, as in what could I do if he did a certain move.
Of course, after a timeout for dinner, Jet wanted to play again.
And I hate chess. I had a bad experience as the worst player on a chess team, once, and that was enough for me. So John's playing with him, now. But, man, a four-year-old that likes chess... it's not fair. I really don't want to discourage him, but it's just hard.