The plan for the summer was: we'd buy a pass for a local pool and we would basically live at that pool all summer long and maybe even join swim club and we'd be wet and happy and expert swimmers by the end of the summer.
What actually happened was: we bought a pass for a local pool when they were on sale (around Christmastime) and then COVID happened and then we got our key to the pool and then we never went to the pool because every time we drove past it it was hopelessly occupied and the pool board kept sending emails out all summer reminding members to social distance (which means they weren't) and to not yell at the lifeguards for trying to encourage social distancing (which means they were...yelling at them, I mean) and...we just never went to the pool...and forgot how to swim...and what is a pool even?
But now that summer is basically over and public school kids are back in school, the pool is ours. It's still plenty hot out so we've got weeks of swimming left and we were alone at the pool most of the morning (there are no lifeguards after school goes back in session; and one other family joined us for the last half hour we were there and we both carefully stayed on opposite ends of the pool from each other).
I suppose the best part about waiting so long to visit the pool is that getting to go feels just that much sweeter. Here are the kids, excited to finally be doing something fun this summer:
Is that a cute picture? I don't know. I can't look.
I've been working on another Shutterfly book—this time of birthdays—and those are always difficult for me to make. It's a surefire way to make me wax nostalgic. I love having them but, oh, going back through pictures like that is painful...the way my kids get older with every turn of the page...the way there's no going back...the way they were so cute and wonderful then...but are so cute and wonderful now...and knowing that I can't have it both ways. I can't have my hands full of sweet, cuddly babies and capable, amazing big kids.
Well, like, technically I guess I could. But, uh, being pregnant is hard and I'm tired. So...I can't.
And I miss my little kids so much because they were just so great. But now is pretty great, too.
Aside from the whole global pandemic thing, I guess.
Benjamin jumped right in:
The other four slowly tiptoed in:
We'll work on standing dives later. I don't actually enjoy diving all that much so it's not the easiest thing for me to teach my kids. Here's the thing: I can't see without my glasses. But I take them off to do things like diving or cliff jumping (or cliff just-standing-on-the-edge-and-never-jumping) and then I can't see very well. And I like to be able to see. And also don't enjoy throwing myself off of high places.
But, my children insisted that I show them how to dive, so I dove off the diving board an...it was fine, of course. The pool is 10 feet deep. The diving board is not very high. But still...not my favourite thing.
Here's Rachel giving it a go:
If you ever wanted to know what I sounded like as a lifeguard, this is an excellent example. "Walk! Walk! Walk! Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!" Have these children no fear of slipping and falling and cracking their heads open? Evidently not.
Here's Zoë giving the diving board another go:
She was so proud to be brave. Benjamin declined a chance to jump off and then Zoë quickly volunteered and then kept chatting about how much braver she is than everybody because everybody was afraid to go off the board but she wasn't.
She's not afraid of much when it comes to the pool. Later in the day when they began to play Marco Polo and she was in the kiddie section without her Puddle Jumper on, I had to keep screeching for her to "Stay behind the rope!" because she wanted to be out where the big people are.
"Mom! I can float without my floaty on! And I can get sinky toys from the bottom of the pool! And I can swim like a mermaid! I can swim, okay?"
"Sorry, but you can't. Not out there. It's too deep for you and you still need to touch the bottom of the pool to take a breath. How would you breathe if you couldn't touch the bottom of the pool?"
"That would be a little harder," she admitted.
"Then stay behind the rope," I told her.
But she kept trying to sneak over to the other side. Honestly, has she no fear of drowning? Evidently not.
I won't even tell you all the thing I think of going wrong at the pool. I've already mentioned two. I also have fears of someone getting caught in an underwater vent—having their swimsuit or hair snag on it and get sucked in. I fear children going missing. Or falling into the pool while they're walking close to the edge. Forgetting themselves and diving into the shallow end and giving themselves a spinal injury...
I will never forget the day a little boy slipped off the high dive and landed on the pool deck (during public swim in High River). I think he was okay but it was a super scary thing.
Let's see...babies flipping face-first while wearing flotation devices. Holding-breath or dunking games going wrong (I had to scream at Miriam to let her brother up when she dunked him today...they had been splashing and so she dunked him and he got scared because he couldn't get away so he pinched her so she dunked him even more forcefully and I was like, "Miriam! You let him up right now!" and she said, "But he pinched me!" and I said, "Lady—you are holding him under the water! He has every right to pinch you or bite you or whatever it takes to get you off of him! You let him up before he drowns!" so she let him up but, like, tempers flare and water is deadly). I worry about kids jumping on top of other kids. I worry about...I mean...there's, like, a lot to worry about.
Our afternoon was a little chaotic with the rest of our schoolwork needing to be done (we did ELA work before heading to the pool and the pool, naturally, counted towards PE), but we managed to check off all our boxes so we'll try hitting the pool again sometime (hopefully soon).