Monday, June 20, 2016

carefree afternoons at the pool

 many years ago i read a blog post in which the author was discussing her husband's conundrum about what mothers "do" at the pool.  the implication was that women who "just take their kids to the pool" don't have it as hard as their husbands who spend all day at work. i forget most stuff i read pretty quickly, but this blog post has always stuck with me. it's a sad thing that in my daily parenting and household duties, i feel like i need to measure up to some unknown man's opinion of whether i'm doing "enough". my husband, thomas, like james brown, is the hardest working man in the legal world. i can't compare what he does to what i do. it's just different hard work. but, taking the kids to the pool, though can be a treat for all of us, is certainly no walk in the park either. 

first case in point:
our new neighborhood has two different pools for resident use. last week we tried the pool with the water slide for the first time. scarlett and reagan were the kids who i thought would be prime water slide candidates. i don't know why i thought athena blythe would be scared. she still wears a puddle jumper when she swims, mostly because i was holding a baby all last summer and i've never been able to finish teaching her how to swim. she is completely undaunted by water. she marched right up to the top of the water slide while i was still unpacking our covered wagon of pool supplies(because families can't just grab towels and go to the pool, am i right?) and claimed her first ride without a second thought. i was under the impression that athena blythe wasn't supposed to go on the slide while wearing a puddle jumper so i was trying to convince her to not get in line again. of course, tantrum ensued. i finally get athena blythe in the water with me and then i realize there is a commotion on the water slide. reagan and scarlett went to ride it and when i look, i see reagan, too scared to sit down so he decides he's going to WALK down the water slide. there is no slow anxiety build up when it comes to reagan. it's 0-60 in ten seconds flat. the lifeguard is trying to stop him before he falls and i'm in the pool holding hersch, shouting what i'm hoping sound like calming, positive threats in my screechy mom voice, to try to alleviate the situation. then i'm trying to climb out of the deep end while holding hersch who is clinging to my neck for dear life because i'm sure he thinks in my distress i'm trying to drown him. for the record, i cannot climb out of the deep end with the metal side ladder while holding a toddler. physically impossible. and scarlett cannot hold hersch while trying to stay afloat with her broken arm. we are a sight to behold. what would have been great would be several of the women sitting on chairs next to the pool offering to grab hersch from me so that i can take care of the reagan situation. note to self- be more aware of people around you struggling. then athena blythe is upset again about not being able to go down the slide. i finally get across the pool to the stairs about the time the life guard has convinced reagan to turn around and walk back up to the landing at the top of the slide. great. clearly,  i am poetry in motion in a small crisis. i try and calmly discuss appropriate water slide etiquette with reagan while my pounding heart stops beating in my throat. it remains beating that hard and my arms feel weak for the next 20 minutes. soon, that one tween girl who lives at everyone's neighborhood pool and always wears an adult bikini on her preteen body walks up to us and is just stink-face gaping at reagan and my interaction from about 12 inches away. i break from talking to reagan and look at her with what i think is my nicest mom face (but i'm not that good at hiding my annoyance) and ask her if we are in her way. she looks startled because she realizes that she's invading a private conversation and she walks away. people on the autism spectrum are not the only ones who lack self awareness.  

when we go to the pool, i always give a little pep talk to the lifeguards about reagan. sometimes reagan needs more than regular reminders and sometimes he is the best rule follower ever born. talking to the life guards is merely a precaution. i don't know what else to do short of making an announcement, "loose cannon on the water slide!" hopefully, the poor life guards have seen enough in their time that we don't faze them too much. we left about an hour later. i felt the overwhelming desire to lay face down on my bed. 

2nd case in point:
we went to the pool again. we brought our wonderful friends who just moved into our same neighborhood! i baked banana muffins using Splenda instead of real sugar because i am so conscientious and healthy! i also brought about a 1lb of strawberries. tra la la! life is good! all the kids ate the snacks but athena blythe absolutely stuffed herself with both. then she went to go on the water slide, which after further research turns out puddle jumper wearing kids can also use. birds are singing, hersch and i are snuggling and then i hear a blood curdling scream. it sounds like a teen modeling career ending injury to the face! alas, i discover athena blythe in the water slide line, wailing and bawling her face off because she is pooping down her legs! apparently the combination of Splenda and strawberries hits some people hard and super fast! (note-google the haribo sugar free bear reviews on amazon. HILARIOUS. and disgusting.) of course, i have hersch in my arms again but i run to her and wrap her body in a beach towel and scoop her up. i shout to all the kids that "we are loading up NOW!" the kids hear, "hey, sweet babycakes, slow down a minute there, one more time down the slide, shuffle your feet all the way to the car, fight about who is carrying what inconsequential pool item, we're in no hurry!" we get home and i'm filling the bath for athena blythe. hersch is having his own tired, teething baby meltdown because i'm paying so much attention to athena blythe. i'm furiously wiping off of her little poop encrusted body. he crawls right over to where we are and launches himself right at her bum and comes away with his head plastered in second hand poop. both go in the tub and i have earned a second bomb pop after the kids go to bed. 

so, what do moms "DO" at the pool? 


Lindsey said...

This is the best story of my life. Thank you. Thank you.

Emily Curfew said...

a mom's life is not an easy one. that's for sure.

henry pooped his pants twice while at brooke's mother-in-law's house/party this weekend. the first time, we just threw away the underwear... the second time --- well, it fell straight to the floor through his loose shorts.

Jessica said...

hahahahahaha. the pool with kids only becomes fun when ALL of them can swim on their own without any worries of drowning. and even then, pool visits are more misses than hits thanks to fighting, whining, and more fighting. we look like the craziest bunch of crazies at the pool when ethan and grace are in the mood. but at least it makes for entertaining stories, right?? hahaha.

HJolley said...

Poor Blythe. We've all been there and some of us recently. But really, poor you. I always feel like kids move slower than usual when a real poop-mergency arises.

Mackenzie said...

Ha. The pools I worked at always had a baby pool and a swim team. The swim team meant all the kids could swim and the baby pool meant fewer scary moments for the poor moms. As a former lifeguard I assure you that they are glad for you letting them know about Reagan and they are also glad that Athena Blythe had her accident on the pool deck. Shutting down the pool for an hour while you shock it never wins you any friends.