Friday, May 21, 2021

Pool and poo stories

I came downstairs the other day and found Zoë and Alexander huddled around the iPad playing what he calls "Teach Monster" (but what is actually called "Teach Your Monster to Read"), which is really rather unobjectionable screen time, in my opinion. 

"It's probably about time for screen time to be over," I said. "We still need to put away the dishes and..."

I don't remember everything that I listed. There was probably a bunch of stuff because needing to do a bunch of stuff is our normal state of being around here. 

I went into the kitchen and started putting away the glass dishes and Alexander soon came to help me. He shuffled into the kitchen with his head bowed. 

"What's up, little buddy?" I asked.

He let out a big sigh and then said, "Mom, the reason I didn't ask permission for screen time is because you were taking a nap."

That is true. I was. Taking five kids to the pool by myself is exhausting. So sue me.

"Oh, well, that's okay," I said. "Clearly you asked someone for permission even if it wasn't me because someone had to put the password in for you to get on in the first place."

He hadn't thought of it that way and felt much better after I'd given my ex post facto consent (when I hadn't even cared in the first place).


We were at the pool today, which is starting to warm up quite nicely. I don't know what happened to May this year. Honestly, we were lucky to reach 70°F while Grandpa was here visiting, which meant the pool was just a little too cold for comfort. This week we're finally seeing temperatures in the 80s but then it looks like we're in for it. After this week we're up in the 90s. 

So it took us a week to go from mid-sixties to mid-nineties. 

I really expected some good 80-degree weather this month (and by good I mean "more than five days' worth"). But whatever. The pool will be plenty warm soon enough.

Anyway, we were at the pool again today and the kids had all decided they were too cold so they were warming up on the deck and then the big kids decided they were going to do a diving competition. They do a thing Grandpa named "interpretive diving," where they assign a task to each other—"dive like you're being sucked out of a rocket ship" or "pretend to be a Harry Potter character"—and whoever comes up with the best "dive" wins. 

Zoë has recently started going off the diving board without her floaty (again...she was doing that last year but had to "warm up" to it this year (pun intended)) and she had just done a beautiful water entrance and then swam to the side very fluently so I decided that I wanted to film her. 

At that exact moment Alexander, naturally, decided that he was ready to go into the pool again as well, so I told him to wait for Mommy and I would be with him in literally thirty seconds. And then I filmed Zoë doing a terrible water entrance and subsequently half-drowned on the way to the side (she was fine...she just...wasn't swimming fluently and we kept having to remind her that horizontal movements are swimming movements and vertical movements are drowning movements (ideally, I suppose vertical movements are treading water movements, but when you're five...they're drowning movements)). 

While she's swim-hobbling her way to the side, Alexander plunges into the shallow end and emerges from the water howling, "I FELL IN! I FELL IN! YOU TOLD ME TO WAIT BUT INSTEAD I FELL IN! I DID NOT MEAN TOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

He was very upset about this and climbed out of the pool as quickly as he could and shiver-walked to meet me on the pool throw himself at my feet, full of remorse. I was just glad he'd spent about an hour practicing jumping in (from the side, not the stairs (getting very brave)) and recovering before he fell in because he knew just how to get back out of the pool. 


And that's why I sometimes need a nap after I take all the kids to the pool by myself. They pull me in five million different directions all at once.


Alexander is a born rule-follower. And I love that for me (and him, I guess). But I honestly don't know where his terror about breaking rules comes from because (a) we don't have very many rules in our house and (b) he's gotten into trouble maybe a handful of times in his life.

But when he gets in trouble it is pitiful

Like, we sent him to the corner for the first time ever a couple of months ago. He had never had a time out before in his life and he did not take well to it. He stood in the corner and cried his little heart out. When we told him he was free to join us for a hug and conversation (like all of a minute later) he came running into my arms, leaving behind two little waterfalls on the wall behind him.

He'd had his nose squished right into the corner, with his sweet little eyes pushed up against either wall and because he'd been crying his great big crocodile tears had been running right down the wall!


Also, he had a bit of a potty training regression shortly before pool season started. He's in that awkward stage where, sure, he's technically been potty trained for over a year, but also he hasn't quite figured out how to take himself and requires a bathroom helper consistently. 

Anyway, he's been fine with #1 (he's always been great with #1). He stays dry overnight. He always tells us he needs to go pee before he has an accident.

But his #2!!! He fights it. Like, he just hates doing it so he'll hold it for as long as possible until he can't possibly hold it any longer and then it ends up getting...messy. 

So I told him, "My dude! Little boys who poop in their pants can't go to the pool. Like, I just can't take a little boy to the pool who might poop their pants because if you poop in the pool you will get everybody sick and we won't be allowed to come to the pool anymore."

And wouldn't you know it...he's suddenly very proactive about pooping.

Which, I'm not going to lie, has been great.

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