*I know that it's Wednesday, but I thought I'd continue my series of catch-up posts on what happened while we were away from the computer for the two weeks known as swimming lessons.
So, we're at Thursday, and I've got a plan. Monday was the heat pump repair craziness. Tuesday was perfect right up 'till the end, Wednesday was quietly frustrating, but Thursday, oh I'm ready for you.
You see, while the kidlets were playing in the wading pool on Tuesday, my mom pal commented that she and her daughter don't really come to that park much. It seems they have found another park with a small playground and free pool. Only this pool is an ACTUAL pool, and has an attached splash pad that the kids all love. The only downside, she claimed, was that there was no shade in the pool area, but that's no problem if you're in the pool with the kids.
So Wednesday night, determined to save our "super week" and make Special. Lifetime. Memories., I went online and printed out a map to this new (to us) park. I packed our bag, I put extra special treats in our picnic lunch, and I dreamed sweet happy dreams of what our special day was going to be like. Yes, I had a Plan and I was at peace.
For some reason, it was a bad day at swimming lessons. The Princess didn't want to put her foot in the water because of her (now 2 day old) bee sting. The boy didn't want to get in the water at all. Sweetpea wanted to do her own thing, not listen to the teacher. But we survived, and I had my Plan.
We went to our usual park for our picnic. By now it's become our happy place. The picnic was wonderful and we spent some time goofing around with the camera, getting silly shots like this
as well as our dreamy shots. Then it was time to reveal the Plan. I told them I had a special surprise for them....a new park that is their friend's favourite. We excitedly packed and then went to the "new park". As soon as we got out of the car, Sweetpea started looking for their friend and calling her name. Oops, Somehow pre-inviting our friends got missed in the Plan. I called but the line was busy. Again and again--buuuuuusyyyyyyy. Looks like it's just us, unless our friends show up on their own. They did tell us that they come here a lot.
The kidlets played excitedly on the new equipment and I stuck close. I took more photos to distract them from the way I was following them around, and they were happy enough to be good sports about it.
Finally the pool opened and we went in to change. I helped everyone into their suits and slathered them up with sunscreen while they wiggled with joy and impatience. Then I told them to just wait a second while I changed. I ducked into one of two stalls, stripped quickly and pulled out my top...and my top.
Ok, I must be hallucinating. Here's my top and here's...another top.
Just so you know, I'm all about maximum coverage when wearing a swimsuit. I buy boy cut bottoms and long tankini tops in mix and match colours. I find there is less skin showing this way and I am much more comfortable (modesty+sunprotection=win). However, I couldn't quite figure out how to mix and match two tops. How did this happen? Didn't I pack a top and a bottom just last night? Who DOES these things?
Ok, maybe I can wear a top with my...um...lightweight, light coloured shorts. The ones that will turn see-thru in two seconds of wetness, along with my white underwear.
I get dressed again and step out to break the bad news to the kids. But it's ok! The day can still be saved! Mama can stand and watch you from the side like a lifeguard. I'll be the towel guard! I'll be right there where you can touch my feet and you can still swim, just like the other day.
We headed out and the kids were delighted with the splash pad. I started to hang their towels over a hand rail when I was approached by a lifeguard (the first of the day) who informed me that anyone who wanted to be on deck had to shower. Ha Ha. I looked at him (it had to be a him), looked down at myself, dressed in cream and white, and asked him if he was kidding. "I'm just watching my kids there in the splash pad (I held up my camera to help him get the picture). I'm not going in the water."
"Too bad", says he. "You want to be in the pool area, you have to shower." He points to the showers to help me.
(Dude, I know where the showers ARE, you just watched me shower off the kids.)
"Come ON!", I laugh. "Look at me! I can't shower like this!" I decide to take him into my confidence and tell him about the silly top/top mixup. I'm willing to compromise; I'll stick my head under, my arms and legs where they're bare, and we'll ignore the clothed portions of my body. He just gives me a LOOK.
Great, I'll dry. I look at the kids and wonder if it's going to be worth it. Their faces are aglow and their shrieks of laughter are music to my ears.
I shower off quickly and sit at the side of the pool with the towels (no one needs to see my heiney while it drys). After only about 20 minutes, I notice that I'm weaving a bit. I've always been prone to heat stroke, and there really is no shade. I start trying to splash myself with the pool water to cool down. It's not working. I get up and put my head under the shower again. Momentary relief.
I'm not going to make it.
I decide to get my hat from the bag in the change room (why did I forget it? Where's my head?). I can't get the girls to stop splashing, but the water is knee deep and they're surrounded by lifeguards. I take the boy with me for my quick dash.
On the way back out of the change room another lifeguard catches me eyeing the parking lot (ok, I'll admit it, I'm thinking of searching the car for bottoms). "You cannot leave children unattended". Is she a mind reader? Sheesh.
We step out on the pool pad and the same male lifeguard catches me immediately and tells me we need to shower each time we enter the pool area. I'm starting to think he's a little pervy. Three other women have just walked past the shower area to spread out their towels and sunbathe. I roll my eyes at him and stick the Boy under the water again, but this time I'm rebelling. Head, arms and legs, dude, that's all you get.
I get to the poolside and yet another lifeguard (my personal third) approaches. "Are those your girls? You must be within arms reach of any child under the age of 7 at all times." You know what internets--that's a good rule. In theory. Looking around the pool and splash area though, I'm afraid it's not actually in practice. Am I the test parent? I mumble an apology, along with a "just needed my hat. I'll be right here from now on". Apparently, this isn't good enough. Maybe this is natural discrimination against clothed people at pools, maybe they don't like my hat, maybe it's just not my week, I don't know. Suddenly she's telling me I must be IN the pool with my children, in arms reach of EACH of them, at ALL times.
I'm done. Call it three strikes. I'm not even angry at the lifeguards, mostly just embarrassed and upset with myself. I hate to think how this blog post would read from the lifeguard's perspective. If I had packed properly, I'd have had a suit, and I'd have been in the pool with my kids from the beginning (though good luck on that arms length rule). I was trying to make the best of a small mistake, but it's not working.
I gather up my very bewildered (and in short order weeping) children and make them leave the pool. I emphasize that this is MY fault, and that I'm very, very sorry. I assure them that we can go back to the other park and I'll wade with them. Hey, you can even have toys there, remember? They are inconsolable. They don't want to relocate, they want to keep playing at this pool. They drift off to the playground. There is no more fun picture taking. When I drift towards them, they drift away. Sweetpea walks up to a stranger and asks to be pushed on the swings. I'm standing right there and offer, but she turns away from me, giving a very grown-up cold shoulder.
I'm definitely in my kids' doghouse, and my heart is breaking. I feel like doing a little howling myself. Maybe I could handle it better if it was just a bad afternoon, but this is turning into "how not to parent" week. I sincerely hope that THIS is the low point in my parenting career. I'm not sure I can stand it getting any worse. I sit on a bench where I can watch over them and wait for them to forgive me.
It happens. Eventually. They drift over one by one, looking for a hug, looking for a snack, wanting to show me something, forgetting that they're supposed to be too mad to speak to me. At the end of the ordeal I apologise again and take them out for ice cream.
From now (then) on I can't leave the house without all of them reminding me that I"ll need a top AND a bottom. I'm never going to live this down.
I believe I'm going to be shopping for a one-piece for next summer. Or two. Does anyone know where I can get the nice long ones that the Olympic swimmers wear?