Swimming before having a child is such an enjoyable leisure activity, things to consider before you set off;
– Hairless in places where no hair should be?
– Toe nails, are they respectable? imagine if someone glanced over whilst showering and saw chipped nail varnish
– What swimming costume to wear? Speedo = no boobs and seems to merge belly and boobs as one, bikini a bit risky, also want to look like I’m serious about this not just chatting at the sides of the pool.
– Which lane? Assess the swimming lanes, no one is ever in the right lane, even though there is a polite sign, yes it actually says a polite notice, seriously no one takes any notice.
– Hmmm have I got time for sauna and a steam after, probably, maybe a 10 min swim (don’t want to over do it and not be able to walk as I have planned to wear heels tomorrow) then relax, works a bit stressful at moment (looking back I didn’t
know I had it so easy)
– Pack shampoo, conditioner, whole skin care range, nice body lotion, hair straightens, full make up.
– Leave relaxed, refreshed and smug that you did a bit of exercise.
Swimming lessons with toddler.
– Start at breakfast with various bribes, something along the lines of “If you listen to the teacher you will be able to have Pom Bears or visit the café and have cake/custard cream” depending on whatever is trending in the toddlers menu at the time. Toddler agrees with this deal, there is hope!
Armbands (always double checking there are 2)
2 swimming nappies (just in case he has a poo in the minute of being in nappy and getting into the pool)
2 normal nappies (spare just in case 1 gets chucked under changing room door into a puddle)
Aveeno cream (we share this)
Bum cream (we don’t share this)
The most expensive child organic shower gel ( tried to push the cheap one but he always gets dried skin, grrr)
Wipes (mainly for the café after)
Change of clothes (maybe 2 pairs of socks)
Towel (rarely used)
£1 for locker (must be revealed just before use or ends up down grates or rolled under someone else’s changing room)
All is piled into massive bag, that never fits into the locker but very pretty, Boden spots, got in the sale, love it, keeps me happy.
Timing is Key, if you get there too early he is knackered before we get into the lesson, if we are late he wants to play on the slide instead of lesson.
We drive to the pool, the walk to the pool involves passing a small miniature railway, a river, tractors, dogs, canoes, ducks, diggers, at least 50 tame squirrels and puddles. So this simple 30 sec walk can take 10 -15 mins, remembering timing is key. A sure winning bribe I can get away with “do you want to hold the swimming card?” this generally hurries things along until he decides he wants to put it in his pocket, then he discovers an old rock he had stashed in there from ages ago and reacts like its a long lost brother or sister! We make it there and pass the cafe, usual tantrum starts that he would like to go the cafe before swimming, I explain he would get cramp (that’s if he actually did any swimming!). If there is no queue, it’s good times, a queue can result into hanging off a display of goggles, queue jumping or laying on the floor.
Right we are in, now time to take shoes off, toddler just legs it in any direction at this point. Every parent is looking very stressed but there are the knowing looks of why the fuck are we doing this? But we all secretly know swimming equals a good long nap so we take it in on the chin for an extra 30mins of peace. So we get into a child changing room. Toddler opens nappy bin, I tell him off, quickly get him ready, everything is getting pulled out of the bag, then arms bands are on. So now it’s my turn, I get changed in about 3 sec, checking boobs are in place. Now if my toddler was not a toddler he would be classed as a peeping Tom (strange expression but you know what I mean) he loves laying on the floor and looking under the changing room door, just to check he is not missing out on anything. So it’s nearly time to open the door everything is stuffed into bag, his towel (not mine) is out with shower gel, it’s time to get the £1 out for the locker, trying to do this without dropping and the toddler noticing. Once the door is open it’s a race, toddler runs off in one direction and I’m trying to stuff everything in the locker as quickly as possible. Then toddler ‘s favourite game is hiding in the locker, so this takes a bit of time to find him in the maze of lockers, once found, off for pre swimming toilet trip. So I have a quick wee whilst toddler pulls all the toilet roll out, obsessed with toilet brush, I spend most of my time saying no.
Right we are in the pool area, toddler is enjoying splashing around in baby pool with slide, parents sit round the side making polite chit chat all looking knackered and really not that excited. Then the swimming lesson starts, so it’s 20 mins long and he pays attention for about 2 mins then has a tantrum as he has spied woggles, sinkers, floats etc. He is supposed to be kicking his legs or monkey baring along the pool. Then he decides that actually he would quite fancy a shower and proceeds to get out of the pool and goes for a shower, this is all done in about 0.5 of a second. Off I follow but the quickest way is to TRY and get out of the pool by jumping up on the side in the most dignified way as possible (the steps are too far away). I retrieve him and get back into the pool for the last song, the grand old duke, now this is one of his favs so for that minute it makes it all worth it, smiles, he is getting into the actions and I have a moment of warmth in my heart. Now it’s time for round 2 of the changing room.
We take a shower which is usually quite good but then it’s time to get changed. I wrap him up in his ‘row row’ towel then attempt to carry him, arm bands, swim shorts, shower gel and of course trying to retain my dignity. We find a changing room, I pull everything out of the locker, he starts getting cold so I give him my towel and snack to distract from getting dressed. Right so he is done, I go to use my towel but I’m pretty dry now so not much point using it. I get dressed in about 2 seconds, then we are off, I try to avoid looking in any mirrors as I just don’t want to see the state I am in. Shoes are on, more running off, me shouting, etc, etc, etc.
Then it’s cafe time, “juice juice”, “cake cake” and he is good as gold standing by my side, please and thank you ( so he can be good when he wants to be?) we eat then it’s off out to car but the tractor is there so we stand and look at for what likes an hour, I’m thinking right I need to get you home to eat lunch before you fall asleep. When I suggest leaving this involves him running off to jump in the muddiest puddle going, I run after him, oh now it’s turned into a game, he’s laughing, I’m shouting this is not a game, ends up with me picking him up a lot of screaming and kicking to get into the car. I am literally covered in mud, jeans all down the front and whole coat, I have to wet wipe myself down before I get in the car.
Now he is knackered and I’m stressed, thinking you ungrateful child, some children don’t get a chance to go swimming every week. So we set off for home and I’m desperately trying to keep him awake, singing, getting really over excited about seeing buses, vans, diggers, rubbish trucks, dogs, people, anything to keep him awake, but he falls asleep as we pull into the drive. Joy!!!