Easy Mode. Panic Mode.

Sophie sporting her life jacket. The first time we put it on her 
she seemed embarrassed to have to wear such a contraption.
Saturday morning we took our canoe out at Mud Creek {about a mile from our house}. I think that we are going to enjoy having water access so close. Our goal was actually to paddle out of the inlet and into the main channel of the Tennessee River. Our secondary goal was that Daniel wanted to jump out of the canoe and get Sophie in the deep water with him so that she could learn to trust her life jacket.

After about 30 minutes of paddling, we still had not reached the actual river channel and the sun was getting warm so we decided to proceed with our second goal. Daniel jumped in the water {while I prayed that he didn’t tip the boat… the mental image of a pregnant me trying to haul myself back into a canoe is not a pretty one}. Then we coaxed dumped Sophie overboard with the help of the handle on the back of her life jacket.

Sophie immediately panicked and started paddling like she was drowning. She somehow managed to hold her head about 8 inches out of the water while furiously flailing her extremities about {almost to the point of being vertical in the water}. She was kicking Daniel in the face and shoulders before I grabbed her handle and held her close the boat and told her to calm down. For some reason this worked and she immediately relaxed and floated next to the canoe. I then helped her to climb back in the boat.

Once she was safe in the canoe again, she seemed interested in the water again. She kept climbing up on the seats and looked like she would jump, but she never quite found the courage. We decided to try again and I coaxed tossed her overboard into Daniel’s arms. After the initial panicked paddling she only calmed down when Daniel had her in his arms and she could cling to him for dear life. I tossed in our life jackets for extra support and she seemed happier floating with the extra buoyancy.

I’m not sure that she will ever become a fan of the water, but considering that two years ago she was terrified to even step in a puddle, I say that we have made tremendous progress.

Once she was safely in the boat again, Daniel hauled himself over the side while I managed to counter balance the boat to keep us all from flipping over. We never did reach the main channel of the Tennessee River, but enjoyed an hour out on the water.

Our route from Mud Creek – we paddled about 2 miles with Daniel 
jumping out at the 1 mile mark to float/swim with Sophie in the river.


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