Every Friday for about a year I have taken my eldest to swimming lessons. It’s been lovely to have someone else telling her to listen every 2 minutes rather than having to parrot it myself. For 30 glorious minutes I would sit at the side of the pool and half watch my daughter indulge in her love of water (and half dick about on my phone).
September brought a change. My eldest was starting reception and with my youngest attending preschool each morning I knew that trouble was on the horizon. I had tried to sign my son up to swimming lessons too, even going as far as to warn them that they needed to put him in Scott’s group (think slightly scary, but really lovely teacher), but a change in the rules meant that he couldn’t start lessons until he was 4. This would mean that for half an hour each week I would have to intercept my youngest’s attempts of throwing himself in the water while he was simultaneously having a tantrum over the injustice of being so close to the water that our eyes were hurting from the chlorine, but still being dry as a bone. Not even the fancy blue overshoes would sweeten the deal.
Luckily most weeks this was avoided as my Mum or ‘Auntie Caroline’ would look after him, but then an answer so logical I feel stupid writing it down occurred to me. I’ll just take him in the big pool for a splash about while my daughter has her lesson in the small pool. Of course!
With my new plan in place I squared my shoulders and entered a family changing cubicle. Swiftly changing into our swimmers I felt sympathy for the mother in the next cubicle as she begged in desperation for her son not to unlock the door until she was dressed. The 30 minutes in the pool passed quickly. Mostly because my son has no fear. None whatsoever. He was repeatedly bombing into the deep water caring not whether I was there to fish him out. Firmly issuing the pool rules (MY pool rules) was falling on deaf ears and I looked like I was auditioning for worst parent of the year with an audience of parents lining the pool – some slightly wet from my sons splashes, others failing to not gawp, all secretly relieved that this wasn’t their child. At some point the life guard came to tell us to go back towards the shallow end as my son had ‘monkeyed’ his way down the side to the 2 metre deep end. When I glanced up to the oversized clock and realised it was time to get out, relief washed over me.
With my eldest just about to come out of her lesson and my son begging me for a wee, I hovered outside the toilets keeping one eye open for her and one eye on my son – who had failed to get his trunks all the way down and had wee pooling on his lap. My daughter dashed up to me also needing a wee, but as my son was still on the toilet she failed to hold it in and just stood there, lip wobbling, while it ran down her legs. Stripping the kids, and sploshing loads of water from the sink onto both the floor and my kids they did the naked walk of shame to our cubicle. Drying my kids off I made the fatal error of dressing my son first. With him ready to go, he soon became bored and a minute later I found him on the floor looking underneath the cubicle to ‘next door’. Fishing him off the floor and telling him how rude it was to peep at other people, I made my second error – getting my daughter dressed. As I was completing the impossible task of trying to get socks on damp feet I heard the awful sound of the lock being slid open. I had approximately half a second before my naked body was on public display. Yelling at my son to ‘NOT OPEN THE DOOR’ I grabbed the nearest thing to cover my modesty (my handbag), and grabbed the door pulling it shut. I quickly dressed and exited the leisure centre feeling considerably more stressed than when I arrived I 45 minutes earlier.
Next time I have a great idea I must try and think of all the potential pitfalls before I carry it out. *sigh*