Friday, May 07, 2021

Pool Season is OPEN

We hit the pool for the first time this season and it was...chilly (71°F/22°C). I honestly didn't think the kids would swim much at all but we ended up staying for over two hours. Here they are all decked out and ready to swim:

I bought Zoë's swim suit before I saw this little safety colour chart floating around the interwebs. It's probably not the best colour, so...I'll just have to keep a close eye on her all summer (or find her a brighter suit, which she probably won't like because it likely won't be "mermaid-y" enough).

The kids know that the best (ie. fastest) way to get into the pool when it's cold is to jump straight in, so they did! Here's Zoë jumping in the first time:

And the second time:

And here you can see how invisible her swim suit turns in the pool water (neat...):

She has many memories of swimming from the end of last summer when we started going to the pool every day after public school started. The pool didn't open in May (as it's supposed to) because of the pandemic and then when it did open we didn't want to be there with any sort of crowd. But we did get quite a lot of swim time in, regardless, and she was a rather proficient swimmer by the time the pool closed at the end of September.

So she, of course, wanted to do all the things she remembered doing last summer. Unfortunately, kids sometimes take a few warm-up sessions at the pool before they "remember" how to swim so I wouldn't let Zoë do all the things she did last summer, which she was fairly pouty about.

She didn't want to wear a Puddle Jumper to go off the diving board! She wanted to just jump in and swim to the side like she did last summer. 

If the water had been warmer, I might have let her try while I treaded water alongside her. But the water was not warm and so I only got in to my waist (sorry, kiddos...I'll swim more with you in a few weeks when it's not f...f...f...freezing). Anyway, the big kids were all going off the diving board (Benjamin had to swim a length of the pool for me before I'd let him attempt the deep end) and I was filming them when Zoë jumped into the pool beside me where the depth was over her head and promptly started drowning. It wasn't scary enough to stress me out (because she wasn't really drowning), but I think it scared her a little. So I fished her out of the pool and then she willingly believed that she would need some refresher swimming lessons before entering the deep end on her own (and waited for me before getting back in the pool, which she was supposed to be doing in the first place).

Here are a few more pictures of the big kids jumping in:

Safely buckled into their Puddle Jumpers, Zoë and Alexander both decided they wanted to try the diving board. Alexander went first...

And ended up chickening out, but I have no doubt he'll be brave enough to jump off before swimming season is over.

Zoë went off about a million times:

When it got too cold to be in the pool anymore we followed the example of our resident amphibians and spent some time basking in the sun. Here's a Cope's gray tree frog showing us how it's done:

And here are the kids warming up:

We spent quite a bit of time playing with frogs and salamanders today because in addition to this lovely tree frog, we found a three-lined salamander in the pool. We fished it out because when I first tried identifying it, my app said it might be a five-lined skink (we've seen many of those, but never any under water and I didn't know how long a lizard might be able to survive under water). But upon further inspection (which could really only be done after we got it out of the pool), we determined it was a salamander and would therefore have been fine chilling in the pool if that's where it wanted to be. 

It's got big googly eyes like a frog does, rather than little beady lizard eyes.

Benjamin had a blast letting it climb all over him.

He was a scamper-y little guy, rather hard to keep a grip on, so when he managed to evade Benjamin, Benjamin immediately announced, "I'm gonna go pick up that frog now!"

And here's Benjamin wiping his nose with his hands right after I'd reminded him to not touch his face before washing his hands since both the salamander and the frog potentially produce "a toxic skin secretion that can cause extreme discomfort to the eyes, lips, mucus lining of the nose, or open cuts and abrasions" (for the frog it is definite, for the salamander it's unknown). But, you do you, Benjamin.

The frog was a little jumpy at first:

Which made Miriam a little jumpy as well:

But once Benjamin managed to catch it again, it decided that Benjamin was as good of a place to rest as any and fell asleep in the palm of his hand.

He carried it around for a long time, even bringing it into the pool with him (though he didn't submerge it because clearly this froggy was trying to get warm):

Here's Alexander splashing around:

And here we are starting a round of "Motorboat, Motorboat":

Here's Zoë moaning about just wanting to go home:

But we couldn't go home yet because the big kids were still playing!

So Zoë came over to practice kicking with Alexander:

She didn't want to get back in the pool, and I don't blame her! It was cold!

The kids accused me of having "become southern," but I told them no. When I was a little girl I was on a swim team that practiced at an outdoor pool. This was in Port Coquitlam, where the average high for July is 24°C (75°F), and I would reach a point at every practice where I would just break down and cry until the coach let me get out and hit the hot, hot shower. I would just be shaking uncontrollably, my little lips turning blue. It was always so cold!

"How old were you?" Rachel asked, disgusted by my behaviour.

"Like seven," I said. 

"Oh, well, that's okay then. I was picturing you doing this as a twelve-year-old."

For contrast, the average high for Atlanta in July is 32°C (about 90°F). When it's that warm every day the pool feels lovely! I wouldn't have cried about the pool temperature had I been on a swim team here!

Anyway, Zoë didn't want to get back in all the way and that was fine. She'll get in later.

Alexander wanted to hop around without his Puddle Jumper for a while, since he's tall enough to do that this year!

When everyone was quite done with the pool we took a page out of Mr. Froggy's book again... warm up (and dry off) a little before heading home.

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