I confessed here that I was doing this largely to make new mommy friends. The other impetus, though, was to make sure that when we head to oceans East this summer, Wee ‘Burb isn’t terrified of the water. Because Mommy likes to get her beach on, People, and I can’t have a kid who refuses to leave the safety of their umbrella and towel.
We got to the first lesson super early, which will surprise nobody who knows me. I have a very “10 minutes early is 20 minutes late” philosophy that requires me to travel with reading material and a charged cell phone to kill time while I wait for people with normal internal clocks that allow them to show up places on time.
The lessons are at a middle school, and can I tell you, the first whiff of barely hidden B.O. and ammonia and chlorine brought me back to the torturous years of middle school so much so that I had to check my teeth for braces, and felt the snap of a bra strap like a PTSD flashback.
I see that there are two…kids? I don’t know, they’re out of high school, I guess. Teenagers? What do they call them now, I’m still trying to figure out what the hell a “tween” is. Anyway, they’re young’uns being instructed by a very pregnant older lady on how to prepare the pool for the kiddies after a middle school swim team apparently created bad baby swimming juju by putting the ropes too close together.
The “teachers” are not inspiring a lot of confidence. They’re kind of shuffling around, looking at each other, looking at the parents who are starting to file in. The pregnant pool feng shui advisor is long gone. They’re not really saying anything to us.
The “teachers” finally introduce themselves and confess what is now obvious: they’ve never actually taught a parent/child swimming lesson (and, I am sure, will never engage in any activity that may result in being a parent with a child after seeing the ensuing meltdowns, which only echo in a pool that size).
So it’s time (10 minutes late, thanks) to finally get in the water. And I am psyched. Only now I am starting to realize that Wee ‘Burb is, by far, the littlest one there. All of the other kids are walking, talking little people and my drooly howler monkey is staring at them, then at me, like “what did you get me into here, Mom?”
It turns out they had combined classes and instead of the 6 months to 2 years class, Wee ‘Burb was now in the 6 months to 4 years class. And by the stares as we tried to maneuver getting in the water when Wee ‘Burb could barely sit on her own on the side, I realized most people were thinking I either had some baby with a growing disease, or I was insane.
But, we’re resilient, Wee ‘Burb and I. I jump in the water and it is COLD! Not lake cold, I’m talking polar ice caps cold. But all I can think about is if I start screeching, it’s over, Wee ‘Burb will not come in. So I smile, clap my hands and pull her in.
Two other mommies follow me. One is a rather large woman with what I assume to be a large 4-year-old in an ill-fitting pink bikini, who actually turns out to be a very large two-year-old with an ill-fitting pink bikini and, let’s face it, a cruel mom. Anyway, the mom gets in and immediately starts squealing and Pink Bikini immediately grabs on to the railing and refuses to let go. Meltdown #1.
The other mom behind her is a very polished looking Suburban Working Mom. She oozes poise and I am immediately jealous of her and her very fit body and her lovely (though impractical for the pool) diamond earrings, and carries her tow-headed daughter in a perfectly cut little pink princess bathing suit, hair done in two symmetrical ponytails (here’s where I confess that our daycare ladies LOVE to play with Wee ‘Burb’s hair and I have given them free rein to do so, so that night she was sporting what we like to call her Wee Who from Whoville look, which was two very short ponytails on top of her head, closely resembling a little alien). She is there with Suburban Working Dad who has their tow-headed son in a polo shirt and trunks remarkably similar to his own.
She gets in and immediately shoots a warning look to Suburban Working Dad that he is not to allow either of their perfect children near this glacial abyss known as the middle school pool. She immediately looks at the “teachers” and declares it “far too cold for children to enter.” Aaaakward, as right then Wee ‘Burb puts her feet in her mouth and floats right on by Suburban Working Mom’s super judgmental stare.
Two other little kids see that Suburban Working Mom isn’t making HER kids go in the water, and refuse to go in themselves. Meltdowns #3 and #4.
The bottom line was this, according to the “teachers,” the pool was at 78 degrees. It would get into the 80s when classes progressed, this was just early and they were still playing around with the temperatures, etc. And most of the class was then spent trying to coax parents, and then their kids, into the damn water.
I don’t see Suburban Working Mom at the next two classes. She shows up to the fourth class and immediately tells the “teachers” that she had phoned the Community Education office and given them a piece of her mind that 78 degrees was totally inappropriate for children and she was not about to subject her kids to that.
At first I felt guilty for allowing Wee ‘Burb, clearly smaller and more fragile than Suburban Working Mom’s toddlers, in the pool in those temperatures. But she never turned blue, she had a great time, and most importantly: she lives out in the world! I mean, what lake or ocean maintains a constant temperature of 83 degrees or higher?
Whoops! And now we know why Stephanie didn’t make any new mommy friends at parent/child swim lessons. But we do have this nifty diploma!