Swimming is a big thing in our community. Kids begin when they are babies, do it
year-round, and strive to make the school swimming club. We also live near a large body of water and swimming is something to do when it’s bitterly cold six months of the year. My children are not like a duck to water. More like, I’m so scared of water, the shower is the devil incarnate and will burn my skin right off. So, I lovingly signed them up for swim lessons.
Who: Young swim instructor, Silas (boy, age 4), Carly (girl, age 5), mom, elderly man, poor random strangers
What: First private swim lesson
When: Wednesday evening, 5:00-5:30 p.m.
Why: Kids are scared shitless of the water
How: I am going to drag them to swim lessons amidst crying, whining, and bartering
Where: A private swim club containing two small pools. This also includes a family locker room with two bathrooms.
4:57 p.m. Carly and Silas strip off their clothes, put their swimsuits on, then realize they need to use the restroom immediately.
5:00 p.m. Both bathrooms are occupied. Kids are sidetracked by the wall of lockers. I throw their belongings in our locker, while they cram their bodies into lockers 4 and 6. I angry whisper at both of them, while two more families stroll in to get changed for swim lessons.
5:03 p.m. Carly slams Silas’ finger in the locker, runs out to the pool, then runs back in. Silas runs after her. Collides with our swim instructor. Introductions are made. Awkward smiles and laughter. Kids follow instructor to the pool and glue their butts to the pool steps.
5:06 p.m. Kids sit on the pool steps, with water lapping at their heels. Suddenly, they jump out of the pool, holding their crotches, and run back to the locker room.
5:08 p.m. Carly goes to the bathroom. Leaps off the toilet with her swimsuit at her ankles and nails her head on the wall.
Carly shrieks, “It’s a magic flusher! It’s a magic flusher. It scared me.”
Silas busies himself with the hair dryer and blow-dries his bottom while I listen to a dissertation on ‘magic flushers’ from Carly.
5:12 p.m. Back in the pool. Rather, pool steps. Silas tells the swim instructor his hot dog is small. Swim instructor doesn’t respond, but looks at me perplexingly. Silas repeats himself, shouting, “My hot dog is small!”
5:13 p.m. I force a small smile, while I silently curse and look towards the lap pool, engrossed in swimmers doing the back stroke.
5:15 p.m. Instructor plays water games and breaks the ice with the kids, trying to acclimate them to the water. Kids play and get a bit more comfortable.
5:20 p.m. Both kids are instructed to splash water on their faces. Both staunchly refuse. Finally, Carly splashes her face a bit, with Silas following. I then watch Silas stick out his tongue and lap up the pool water like a damn dog. I cringe and turn my attention to my phone, pretending to send a text.
5:22 p.m. I run to the front desk to grab towels and a plastic bag for wet swimsuits.
5:23 p.m. I see the swim instructor and the kids exiting the pool. A few other kids and their swim teachers are getting out of the pool as well. Another staff member appears with a net. I catch a worker mouth the word ‘vomit.’
5:26 p.m. The swim lesson continues in the adjacent lap pool. Kids complain they are cold. Complain they are bored. Want to know why they switched pools. Try to persuade their teacher to let them back in the small pool. They watch a two-year-old swim from one end of the pool to the other. Promptly begin arm strokes with ‘ice cream scoops.’ Their butts are still firmly planted on the pool steps.
5:31 p.m. Kids are wrapped in their towels, shivering. Carly brags she put her whole face in and they did ‘real swimming.’ (She got her nose wet and they didn’t leave the stinkin’ steps). Silas cries and tries to jump back in the pool.
5:34 p.m. Back in the locker room, I rip off wet suits and listen to woes of frigidity and demands of footy pajamas. Silas continues to stand naked and sob, while Carly tells me her swimsuit has given her a rash and she probably can’t go to school tomorrow.
5:38 p.m. A very large elderly man enters the locker room. As he undresses, he makes loud audible sighs and grunts. His swim trunks look like a cheese cloth draped over a large chunk of Lacey Swiss. The kids ask if he is going to take swim lessons.
5:39 p.m. As I ask my children for the 10th time to put on their pants, I realize their socks and shoes are still in the locker behind me. I swivel to my right to grab the remaining belongings when my face meets crotch. Old man crotch. I am so embarrassed and surprised, I freeze. I am motionless, unblinking. Feeling subconscious, I finally collect myself and mumble an ‘excuse me,’ as I maneuver around him to my locker.
He just grunts and sighs. Grunts and sighs. One singular snort escapes.
5:43 p.m. He then lightly laughs and says, “My son was the same way.”
Same way what?! Same crotch?! Same behavior?! I need a little more here.
I need to get the hell out of this locker room.
5:45 p.m. After one more bathroom break and another round of hide-and-go-seek in the damn lockers, we made our way to the car. Forty-five minutes of swimming lesson hell has come to a close. Till next Wednesday that is.