I have such fond memories of swimming as a kid. That’s why I’m so amazed at how little I enjoy being at a pool with my own children. Now before you start thinking I’m some cold hearted monster (too late?) let me clarify. I love watching my children when they are playing nicely in a pool, splashing around on a sunny day. I just don’t like any other part of it. Here’s what I mean…
It starts when you have to actually get into the pool. Besides the obvious issue of stripping down in front of everyone (always fun in front of your friends’ husbands and your father-in-law), children have different body temperature recognition than adults. To rephrase that, kids are incapable of feeling cold if a pool is open. If I dare tell my children it’s not warm enough to swim they start screaming “but the pool is open – DUH.” Can you argue with that?
So you get in and warm up and it’s all good right? But that’s when the trouble really begins. One minute you’re swirling your little angel around in a splashy-splashy circle and then she leans in and whispers “I have to pee.” And she means now. Suddenly your freezing body is hurling itself out of the water and running to a wet bathroom where you’re attempting to remove a bathing suit that’s suddenly 8 sizes smaller than when you entered the water. Then you have to roll it back up her thighs and attempt to cover her bottom in some semblance of decency as your child frantically tries to break away from you to get back to the pool. And then you have to get used to the water again.
And that’s not all. My kiddies love it when I hold them in the water. Sounds sweet, right? Within seconds, I’m usually kneed in the crotch and elbowed in the chest. When my kid wants to show me how he swims, I know I’m getting clocked in the face.
If there’s an object in the pool capable of being floated on or played with, there will definitely be a fight over it. If there’s a toy capable of shooting out water, you will be shot in the face. No matter how many times you say “just not in the face,” you’re getting sprayed in the eyes.
Most of my family’s time at a pool is spent listening to me scream “Don’t run” and “you’re too close to the edge” and “get off of his head.” One of my children loves to hold his breath underwater, so I spend a lot of time waiting anxiously for him to resurface, howling “please get him” repeatedly at my husband.
So I’m filled with such mixed emotions when my kids want to go swimming. After all, there’s really nothing sweeter than wet baby kisses in a pool and fewer things more refreshing than cooling off with your little ones in the water. And my kids have become proficient at arguing their cause. They’ll read me the heat-filled weather reports and promise to be perfectly behaved. But I’ve gotten pretty good at arguing back. When they try to get me in the pool by schooling me on what great exercise swimming is, I simply reply:
If swimming is such good exercise, explain whales to me.