I took Johnny to the swimming pool at the Brixton Recreation Centre for one more try after two unsuccessful visits, where despite his love of bathwater he'd clearly found the whole swimming pool environment rather alarming.
Unlike our first visit the training pool was open this time, albeit after a ten minute wait for a lifeguard to appear. This is good - it's warm and has metre-wide, shallow steps going into it, perfect for aquatic toddlers to get used to the water. But Johnny wasn't impressed by any of this, and when I tried to lower his feet into the water he scrambled up my tum until he was clinging limpet-like to my shoulder.
I was almost ready to give up when I had the ridiculous idea that maybe I could get him used to the water without prising him off my shoulder, so I lowered myself onto my back with my head and left shoulder sufficiently raised to stop either of us from drowning, and waited for him to get bored. Jake's mum Melissa waded by and helpfully did a bit of splashing for Johnny, then he did some splashing with his hand, then he sat up on my chest and did some kick-splashing, and at last he slid off and waded around the knee-high top step.
With trumpets playing fanfares in my head, I lent him my hand to step out of the pool and back again, and then for stepping onto the waist-height second step and back a few times. Finally, when I was all ready to quit while we were ahead, he decided to step down to third step -up to his chest - and up again.
Two very satisfied individuals left that pool with smiles on their faces, one of them with his head full of notions about the importance of combining logic with spontaneity - until a post-pool Melissa punctured it all with her observation that we had made a fine sight, Johnny on me, me on my back, like the ship's cat on an upturned hull.