20 June 2012

A Trip to the Pool With Three Kids

Hanging out at the pool on a hot summer day. It's one of those activities I waited for as a stay-at-home mom. "This is when it's going to pay off," I said to myself. "I can just chill at the pool for a few hours, get a tan and have fun." In fact, I felt a little indulgent about getting to languish in the sunshine while my poor husband has to sit in a dark room, his skin bathing only in the depressing glow of his computer screen.To be honest, I felt downright guilty wielding my first season pool pass.

But then I took them a few times and learned a very important lesson: The pool is not restful until all of your kids are 9 or older. Nope, it's pretty much a splashtastic stress fest until the drive home. So don't be all jelly, working parents.

Just getting out the door on time is a gauntlet. Each child is finishing lunch at a different speed, Goblin Queen is whining about something and Wolfman is throwing his cup of milk to the floor in between each sip. I am trying to eat some scraps from whatever I made the kids and packing a cooler with snacks and drinks. Then, I am loading the pool bag with diapers, goggles, extra sunblock, my pool shades, and lip balm. Towels! Can't forget those... Next, I am shuttling everything in the car, otherwise I will forget something and everything is crucial. No, seriously - everything is crucial. Good Girl finishes first and suits up, I tie her hair up, sunblock her and work on Goblin Queen, who can't seem to fix her straps. I tie her up and grease her down. Next is Wolfman, who takes this opportunity to crap his pants. We begin the rodeo of my chasing him around the living room and wrestling on his cheesy swim diaper, followed by the real swim diaper required by the pool, then his trunks and his rashguard. I grease him up and get everyone in the car.

...Only to realize I don't even have my suit on yet. 

Wolfman is a typical 16 month old who thinks it's funny to find new and ridiculous ways to kill himself every day and a pool is no exception. He likes keeping Mama on her toes and trying to divert her attention from Goblin Queen, who isn't a strong swimmer yet. She can play in the 3 foot area, jump in and all that, but she can't really swim. Good Girl can go wherever she likes at this point and often tempts Goblin Queen into deeper waters. Add in the summer camps that come flooding in unexpectedly around 1 or 2PM, with their unrestrained, undisciplined, mountain dew-fueled asses, who jump in without looking, dunk other kids, suck up water and spit it out like terrible greasy germ fountains, and I feel panicked.It is hard work trying to keep your kids from giving themselves a spinal cord injury or getting drowned by some mulleted, cheeto dust-laden dipshit doing a cannonball into the mass of young children. 

Yet, I have to admit a few hours in the sun does make me feel good, so I keep trying to get it right. My goal is always the same: get to the pool before the camps can show up. Every day I have a new idea, to have everything packed the night before, to make Good Girl read before bed instead of before lunch, to make them suit up an hour in advance. And every day shows me in a new and infuriating way how I could have done it better. 

I know I can't be like the moms who swim a few laps and then bask in the sun with a book, not for a few years at least, but I'll be damned if I don't figure out a way to enjoy what is supposed to be a simple perk of stay at home motherhood. 

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