Friday, April 28, 2006


Swimming in shame

Oh, the shame! Yesterday was 'parents' day' at the boys' swimming lessons, where parents are supposed to hop in the pool with their kids and get a hands-on idea of how the kids are progressing, what they are working on, and where they need improvement. For whatever reason, we somehow missed getting our notice about this last week, so while Beloved hopped in the pool as usual with Simon for the parent and tot lessons, I sat red-faced and miserable on the deck. I even asked the instructor if I could hop into the pool in my jeans and t-shirt, so great was my shame, but she gently suggested that wouldn't be necessary, and instead I spent a guilty 30 minutes observing from the deck and wondering what psychological damage I was wreaking to my eldest son.

Judge: We have reached the sentencing portion of this trial. Do you have anything to say for yourself?
Grown-up, bearded, scruffy looking Tristan in shackles: I'm sorry for all the bad things I've done. If only my mother hadn't missed parents' day in the pool when I was four, who knows where I'd be now...

Apparently not so much. Only two parents of six were in the pool, and when I asked Tristan about it, he didn't even realize I was supposed to be in the pool with him.

Grown-up Tristan, handsome and content, in conversation with his girlfriend: Oh, you got your hair cut off? Oops, no, I guess I didn't notice.
Pretty girlfriend: Argh! Men!

When I was registering the boys for their swim lessons, I was a little wary about scheduling them both for the same time slot. Two wet preschoolers plus one wet parent (Simon is too young to be in on his own) is a lot of chaos mixed in with the regular chaos of 30 other families in the changerooms, but it's working out pretty well. We go as a family, and Beloved and I alternate who stays dry and who goes in the pool with Simon, then we each bring a child into the changeroom. Gratuitous props to any of you who do it on your own, without a dry parent as backup! Two wet kids I can wrangle. Two wet kids PLUS one wet mommy is a little too much, especially when you're rushing out to get home in time to watch Survivor!

In the parent and tot class, I am often the only mommy, which was a bit of a surprise, but it's nice to see all the daddies in the pool with their 2 - 3 year-olds. And I have to laugh at Simon's fearlessness. I dunk him, he comes up sputtering and laughing. I put him on the side and he jumps back in before I can even get my arms out. (Well, the jumping is new this week. Up until now, he just kind leaned forward and tipped stiffly into the pool. It's very hard to catch a 30 lbs slippery board-baby in time to make sure he doesn't belly-flop into the pool.)

It's very interesting to watch Tristan interact with his swim instructor. He watches her with wide-eyed intensity (when he isn't wandering off) and is usually one of the first to follow her instructions. I haven't decided whether this is encouraging or annoying, after having spent the rest of the day practically howling at the boy to get him to listen to my words at home on the eighth or tenth utterance, let alone the first. He is, according to the instructor's assessment, very strong and doing exceptionally well at this level.

Announcer: And now, the Canadian national anthem begins as the gold medal is awarded for the 2024 Olympic men's 400 metre freestyle to Canada's own Tristan....