Hello from San Juan, Puerto Rico! This is our first big voyage as a family of THREE, and Puerto Rico is just as I hoped: Easy to travel to and through with a 7-month-old, but different enough from Boston to quench my ongoing ache for Latin America for a time.
Before diving into the sights of San Juan, however, let’s celebrate a momentous and hilarious occasion: Our baby had his first ever pool swim today, and wait until you see where it took place!
Lucky baby, Devi’s inaugural pool dip took place at the luscious San Juan Marriott, in the oceanfront Condado neighborhood of the city. As you can see from these photos, the Marriott’s pool is a multi-part gem. Folks come from far and wide to splish-splash in its palm-shaded water.
Not staying at the hotel? No problem. Outside visitors can purchase day passes to the resort pool and its amenities, as my cousin did when he traveled through Puerto Rico last year. But we lucky ducks staying in the hotel get the pool for free with our pretty room. And so we strapped on Devi’s swim diaper (no poop in the pool for us) and trotted downstairs.
For some background regarding our child’s water interactions, Devi used to shriek with rage-infused terror each time we gave him a bath, up until he was about a month old. “He looks like he’s falling off a cliff!” wailed his grandmother the first time we put him in the bathwater. “Take him out! Take him out!”
Over time, however, our little marshmallow began to tolerate, and then finally enjoy the tub. So how would the voluminous bath known as “swimming pool” fare in the tastes of our guy? Well, here is a photo of his first pool reaction face:
Yes, Devi could neither confirm nor deny that he liked the pool. Rather, he spent the first fifteen minutes just taking it in while Colin swirled him around the warm azure water. Me, I was knee-deep in the pool (fully clothed) clutching my camera and jumping up and down trying to make the baby react in some manner other than, “Umm…”
No dice, but that was ok, since my surroundings looked like this:
Meanwhile, the baby just gaped at the water. Actually, “gaped” is not the right word, as it indicates a gapingly open, slack jaw. Instead, Devi displayed a guffaw-worthy tight little line mouth. This is similar to the face he makes when we try to feed him oatmeal.
While Colin swam the baby over to stare in confusion at the fountains, I moseyed to the other side of the pool: a shallower area perfect for children younger than me but older than Devi. The palm trees swayed hello and laughter echoed off the water.
When I returned to father and son, our child was… smiling! His two little rabbit teeth shone white as he giggled and smacked the water with his hand. “I want to dunk him and see what he does,” declared Colin. “NO!” I squealed. “He’ll get water in his little nose-y!”
“Too late,” said Colin. “I think he’s already swallowed part of the pool.” Sigh… I suppose a child can benefit from having a yin-yang set of parents: Ms. Overly Cautious and Mr. No Worries.
The sun glinted off the water as it slid around our baby’s round white limbs, oh so fat and chunky.
“Is it his first swim?” asked a couple getting out of the water. We affirmed it was, and they sighed, confiding, “Our babies are now taller than us! Enjoy this now. They grow up so fast!”
This comment got me thinking about these moments of magical discovery. Four months ago, our baby was just discovering that his fist belongs to him. (His left first in particular, he was shocked to meet.) Today, Devi enters the world of aquatics, and can now slap the pool water with a confident fist and a big grin.
To all these people who tell us to “enjoy it now,” Don’t worry — we are! But with regards to, “They grow up so fast,” I refuse to be sadly nostalgic. Our baby is growing and discovering each day, and wherever he is is perfect! Especially if that place happens to be a beautiful resort pool in Puerto Rico.
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We were guests of the San Juan Marriott, but all opinions and pool-styled baby comb-overs are my own.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!