We finally took Victor swimming in the Rouge River.
There’s a public beach in Quebec right at the place where the Rouge runs into the Ottawa River, so technically Victor had his first river swim in two rivers.
It’s not a large beach, but the buildup of sand over the years means you can walk close to 250-feet into the Ottawa River and not get your belly button wet.
Victor walked into the river on his own, gave a little shout when his bum got wet, then ran back to the beach. On his second try Victor walked straight out until the water was almost chest high, then tried to run to me, but his feet wouldn’t move properly and he fell into the water face first.
When we took Victor for his first swim it was in a pool. With his life jacket on he mostly just bobbed up and down. Diane pulled him around by his arms in the shallow end. He laughed most of the time we were there.
This time, in the Rouge and Ottawa Rivers, he was definitely more nervous… or cautious. He could also walk out into the rivers. Diane held his hand, sometimes pulling him so he was flying on his back, but for the most part he stayed on his feet.
But the combination of the cold water from the Rouge, and being surrounded by so many people, and the general newness of being in a river, kept him quiet. He would smile occasionally, and he laughed a few times, but he was definitely watching, and taking his time to figure it all out.
The only time he cried, other than immediately after his face plant into the river, was when we were leaving… most likely because his diaper weighed ten pounds from the river water.
The beach has changed in the twenty years since I was last there. We used to just park our cars along the side of the road and walk down an impossibly steep road, then stroll out onto the sandy beach.
Now we have to drive down the impossibly steep road, pay $5/person at a gate, drive past hundreds of campers and trailers until we find the public parking. Then it’s a walk to the beach, which seems to be about half as big as it was back in 1989.
On the beach itself there must have been 200 people. Back in the day I never saw more than a dozen. It was fun though, and the crowd was relaxed.
We’re going back next week with Andrew, this was his weekend with his father. So I doubt he saw the sun.
The most interesting relationship to watch at the moment is the one between Victor and his older brother Andrew.
Andrew is 5-years old, he turns six in November. He’s Diane’s son from a previous relationship. Andrew’s father has been mostly absent, lately he’s been showing up on time for his visitation days but, even when he spends time with Andrew, it’s almost entirely spent inside, watching TV or playing video games.
So there are some behavioural problems, both from his relationship with his father, and from being a 5-year old kid.
I do try to spend time with Andrew, usually every other day we’ll play ball or go for a walk or get to the splashpad. Plus I’m interacting with him at all his soccer and T-ball games.
But Andrew still gets jealous of the time I spend with Victor. And Andrew does take out his frustrations on Victor.
A few days ago, for example, we were all in the car. Andrew kept touching Victor, which was setting Victor off. I told Andrew to back off, which he did, but a minute later Victor was crying again. Andrew had put his hand on Victor’s carseat, and when Victor tried to push it off, Andrew wouldn’t budge.
Just little petty shit any normal 5-year old does. I guess. But I realized a long time ago the most influential person in Victor childhood is going to be Andrew.
Andrew is a great brother, most of the time. But the fact Andrew is going to be poking a stick into my sons chest for the next ten years is a little discouraging.
Andrew lost his first baby teeth this month. Both of his bottom incisors came out a few days apart. The new ones have already broke through the gum.
He was a little freaked out at first, but was thrilled when we told him it meant he was growing up, and that the tooth fairy would be popping by with some cash.
Once he found out there was money involved he started twisting and pulling them. After the first one came out, he got his cousin to pull the other one.
Victor has had a fun summer so far. He touched some horses at a parade, he had his first Canada Day sparkler, he figured out how to eat an ice cream cone without anyone’s help, he practically moved into the splashpad.
He figured out how to throw Lego-blocks into the toilet, he swung on his first swing, he went for long walks, he visited with all his grandparents, and he learned how to run away from his mommy.
The biggest change in Victors life over the past few months has been his… movements. It’s like every four months they just get worse and worse. Now they’re like sandy, hard pudding with little marbles tossed in because nature hates parents.
Not only is there a stench, but the sandy / gritty nature of the stuff makes it very difficult to clean his bum. I’m up to three wipes per change.
Victor doesn’t really care anymore. Hard movements used to cause him a great deal of pain. His face still gets red when he’s pushing, but the crying has reduced over the past few months to just a few seconds.
We still spend a lot of time together. Diane drops him off here at 5am on her way to work, and we’re together until the early evening. We spend most of our time talking, or making weird noises. His favourite toys right now are building blocks and magazines.
He loves to tear magazines into little pieces. In the afternoon, if it’s not raining too hard, we’ll go on a long walk together. He loves watching people, and he sits in his buggy with one elbow hanging out the side, like he was in a car. He uses the other to pull himself forward by holding on to the tray.
He always looks like he has places to go.
Photos Of Victor’s Week(s):