Sometimes I learn something about parenting or children that is such common sense I feel ridiculous admitting I didn’t know it in the first place. For example, when I started my job six years ago and started marketing for Pampers, it was big news to me that diapers come in different sizes. It was something I never needed to know before then — and frankly, before I actually had a baby, they all looked the same age to me anyway. I considered all children in one of three groups — babies, “school kids”, and teenagers. That’s it. So why would there be different sized diapers when all babies were the same size and age?


I’ve tried to keep a sense of humor and an open mind about all the things I just don’t know when it comes to this parenting thing. So far it’s working out.

So last weekend, I learned about life jackets. Specifically, life jackets for kids.

Two summers ago we bought a life jacket for Colt. He was two years old and weighed around 25 pounds. I remember it being later in the season and having to ask around about where to even buy a child-sized life jacket — and we ended up spending a fortune on one at a boating supply store because we were headed to the lake with my parents and he really needed to have one.

It didn’t fit well. At all.

Exhibit A.

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He’s the turtle-child in the middle there.

I vaguely remember deciding to buy a size he could “wear for a while” — probably because it cost so much. And wouldn’t you know it, but it didn’t function quite like we imagined.

Exhibit B.

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Needless to say, we didn’t have a great first experience with life jackets. So we put the unnecessarily expensive life jacket in the hall closet and kinda forgot about it.

Fast forward to Summer 2012.

We spent a day last weekend at two different pool parties — one with 99% adults and the other with 99% kids.  The grownup party was at my friend Jennifer’s house (running partner Jennifer). They just built a house and put in a pool — and it’s gorgeous. But it’s built for — you know — grownups. And since Colt has absolutely no fear of the water (and no idea that he can’t actually SWIM) I spent the entire afternoon chasing him around and making sure he didn’t drown in the deep end.

But then we switched gears and headed to the kid party.

The kid party was at the Springdale Aquatic Center, and almost every kid within two years of Colt’s age was wearing a life jacket. As soon as he noticed this he, naturally, asked me for a life jacket. I reluctantly agreed to let him borrow one from the pool — while thinking the whole time, “this is such a waste of time, these stupid things don’t work.”

Stupid parenting lessons.

Stupid hardheaded Mommy.

I never even got in the water. I watched from the side as he kicked and doggy paddled his life jacketed self all over the dang pool, completely wearing himself out, until it was time to leave. I could barely get him out of there.

As I dried him off and returned his borrowed life jacket to the pool staff, the wheels in my head were turning. Maybe life jackets really DO work. Could this be? I wonder if that gold-plated, diamond-encrusted life jacket from two years ago is the same size as this one. Could I have totally misjudged this whole life jacket concept?

We got home. We dug the life jacket out of the hall closet. And sure enough, it fit like a glove. And I almost couldn’t wait to get invited back to Jennifer’s this weekend.

Again, I never got in the water past my knees. But that didn’t stop him from jumping from the side – about 600 times – and swimming like a fish all over the pool. Deep end? Pshaw!

We are life jacket converts.


This video is only a few seconds long, but I absolutely had to send proof to Jeff that our boy not only looooooves the water but has a long, independent summer of swimming ahead of him.

{Click here if you don’t see a video.}

One thought on “Month of Colt: Day 11

  1. We had the same revelation at our hotel while we were at Disney – by we, I mean me and my SON. He refused to wear one until I threatened, and then he LOVED it because he didn’t need me anymore!!

    I love the short little video – but I immediately thought: actually, this needs to be on a loop, because in reality, that’s what they do… jump, splash, paddle, hop out, repeat!!!

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