I grew up with a pool and it was awesome. We were in there all the time. We made up the best games and were exhausted by bedtime. So, when we were house hunting a few years ago and found a place we loved and it had a pool, the decision to put in an offer was very easy.
We are not a family that goes camping (not sure why I’d chose to spend a week living in third world conditions, but more on that another time). We also don’t really cottage; however, if you have a cottage you’d like to invite us to, we’re game. So, having a pool is the perfect fit for us. We love having people over for the day or an hour (it’s a sliding scale depending on how much we like you and how well-behaved your children are).
Swimming as I recall it from growing up was fun and almost limitless. You throw on a bathing suit, run out back and jump right in. Take a few warm up breaks, eat some chips or Rice Krispie squares, maybe go on the swing set or read a book, then right back in. That has not been my experience as of late. Being a parent has really been a killjoy when it comes to pool time. (Obligatory good mom disclaimer: I do love my boys and mostly enjoy swimming with them.)
Now when I want to enjoy the pool, I have an entourage, which is fine, but the whole process is way more involved. Bathing suits to start: we have a drawer full of trunks – at least 23 pairs. Once people know you have a pool, you get a lot of bathing suits as gifts. However, even though there are 23 to choose from, only one pair is the right pair. Searching bedrooms, railings, and random piles on the floor takes time. Multiplied by three at the very least.
Once bathing suits have been procured, we begin the “Put your Clothes Away” dance. I tell the boys to put their clothes away, they say they did. I tell them that “away” does not mean they are left in the bathroom. Sighs and blustering ensue, but they go back upstairs. I ask again, they insist they did, I remind them that “away” does not mean on the floor of their bedroom. Repeat.
Alright, bathing suits are on, clothes are “away”. Now we move on to the “Sunscreen Debate”. It’s short, I win, sunblock applied. This quickly moves into the “When can we go in?” chant.
We’re at a good stage of pool life with the Bigs. They jump in, play games and have a blast.
Mostly they just ask me to watch their super cool pencil jumps or cannonballs or ask me to count how long they can hold their breath under water. But the Littles – they seem to think that I am out there solely as a conduit for their personal swimming fun. And neither of them can swim on his own yet. So, I’m doing a lot of bobbing up and down and “helping” and promising not to let go.
“Don’t let go, Mommy.” “Hold me, Mommy.” “I want to be with you, Mommy.”
And now, right now, as I type this, I realize that maybe it’s the Littles who are at the good stage.