Parenting Lesson #17: Never go ANYWHERE without an extra change of clothes. Once our kids reached the age where they could reliably hold their bodily wastes until a toilet can be found, we stopped treating every trip outside our home as an expedition. OK, we still routinely bring a little something edible because they refuse to eat normal, adult-sized meals at normal, prescribed mealtimes. But long gone are the days when each kid had her own spare change of clothes, undergarments, and shoes in a bag, “just in case.” Ha! That will teach us.
A full summer of daily swim lessons had the girls eager to show us their new skills. Sister Bear was already proficient from our backyard pool in Houston but Baby Bear wasn’t quite swimming unassisted when we moved east. So when Uncle T offered to take us all to his community pool, the girls jumped at the chance. So off we go to the center with T and cousin O. I take the girls into the women’s locker room to change and shower whilst the menfolk do the same on their side. We meet up in the pool and, as PB and I are putting the baskets with our belongings on the shelf, BB decides to commence her swim. Except that her reach still exceeds her grasp. We turn around to see her underwater and the lifeguard holding out a pole for her to grab.
Lifeguard to 5-yr-old: Grab the pole.
Lifeguard to 5-yr-old (louder): Grab. The. Pole.
5-yr-old: sputter splash
I jump in and pull her head above water. She hadn’t been under long enough to get scared so she’s quite pleased with herself. Look ma! Um, yes, dear, I was looking. While you sank like a stone.
Meanwhile I’m thinking, “I don’t know how they train lifeguards in Ireland but if a US lifeguard sees a child in trouble I’m pretty sure he jumps in the pool.” He’s probably thinking, “I don’t know how they do things in the US but I’m pretty sure Parenting Lesson #3 is don’t turn your back on a small child near a pool while you put away your small clothes.”
Crisis averted, we let BB show off all her new “skills,” play some games with SB and O and then spend some time at their local library before heading back.
After lunch we head to Myrtleville beach so the girls can get their promised visit to the beach. The last beach we went to was in Florida so we warned them that this would be different. At 65F with a light drizzle, this wasn’t going to be a splash-in-the waves kind of beach but more of a dip-your-piggies-and-run-back-to-Mama-shrieking thing. OK, Mama.
Sure enough, the waves are breaking, the mist is misting, and the seascape was beautiful and wild.
Off come the shoes. In go the toes …
…toes turn to ankles, then knees and pretty soon both girls are soaked to their waists.
They stop just short of throwing themselves headlong in to the surf. This goes on for a good 45 minutes. I keep expecting them to start complaining of being cold but they’re having too much fun.
We wrap them up in their raincoats for the 30 minute ride back to T’s. Nary a word of complaint.
Never underestimate a child’s desire to get wet!