“You stay home with the sleeping baby,” I told my wife, who needed to catch up on some of her photography work, “and get some editing done, and I’ll take the others to the pool.”
I pictured myself reading a book while they splashed around in the wading pool.
“I don’t think so,” said my wife.
“Don’t you trust me?” I asked her accusingly. There was a very telling and expected pause. “You don’t! I can’t believe this,” I said in mock horror.
Yes, I can. There is always a lecture before I go out with the kids to somewhere we both would rather have the two sets of eyes watching over the kids. When they’re older it isn’t a problem, but Miss3 and Miss1 haven’t developed brains yet so we worry.
“You’ll watch them?” my wife asked me suspiciously.
“Yes,” I said.
“You’ll not wander off for a chat?”
“No,” I answered.
“You’ll make sure they have sunscreen on?”
“Before I leave the house,” I agreed.
It’s not, you might be surprised to learn after reading the above dialogue, that Tracey doesn’t trust me with our kids. The simple fact is she doesn’t trust anyone with them: it’s just with me she can demand reassuring answers to the questions she doesn’t feel comfortable asking, for example, our parents or the daycare people. I’m the fall guy.
After several interchanges along these lines she finally acceded to the idea.
“You’ll take my phone so I can contact you,” she said. Then quickly added, “And no playing any games on it.”
“Seriously,” I told my wife, “I won’t even be in the water. I’ll be sitting on a seat watching them. I can’t think of a single reason not to do this.”
I can now.
It started well. We paid our money and headed past the big pool to the circular wading pool at the far end. I’d already successfully deflected demands for chips and ice-creams on the ways past the canteen so I was feeling pretty confident.
“Shoes off,” I told them, while mentally patting myself on the back for remembering to get them to take them off.
Naturally, the bigger kids wanted to go to the big pool, but I wanted everyone where I could see them. If I had to go home and explain to Tracey one of the kids had drowned….well, that would be an awkward conversation I’d rather avoid.
Then it started.
“I need to pee!” said Miss3, standing frozen like a statue in the wading pool. A few people looked over and a couple of teens behind me laughed.
“Right, you three. Listen up. I will be a couple of minutes. There will be no running, no sticking your heads underwater, no splashing. In fact, no fun of any kind until I return. You two,” I said, pointing at Miss9 and Master8,”watch over your sister and don’t leave the wading pool for any reason. If someone drowns while I’m away,” I added, “I will ban all electronics for a month.” I’ll give Minecraft its dues – there is no greater threat than its removal from our children’s play time.
The lovely mother of a toddler agreed to keep an eye on them, and Miss3 and I walked briskly to the loos. I was thankful she can’t read yet because otherwise she mightn’t have been thrilled to discover I took her to the mens, where less than a minute later it became clear she either didn’t need to pee after all, or she’d mistakenly used present instead of past tense and, in the pool, had been imitating a water feature rather than a statue.
We hurried back. Everything went swimmingly (haha, sorry) for about fifteen minutes.
Miss3 froze again.
“I need to pee!” she yelled.
The teens repeated their chuckles and I repeated my threats to the kids and then Miss3 and I again scampered off to the men’s loo.
Another ten minutes and we were back there again.
Nothing. No wait!
I had my head down close to her waist listening for the telltale tinkle sounds.
“I did it!” announced Miss3, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I didn’t hear anything, because there was a shower nearby making a lot of watery sounds, but she washed her hands, so splashdown was confirmed.
I settled back onto my seat while Miss3 joined her siblings, and for a few minutes I managed to relax and enjoy the sunshine. I even managed to send Tracey a photo of the kids.
“Looks cold,” she messaged me back. “You sporting an inni yet?”
I suspect she was just trying to catch me out at having gone swimming instead of any genuine concern for my nethers.
But then it started up again.
“I need to pee!” came a familiar cry from the pool. Only this time it was from Miss6.
“Here’s the rules,” I told Miss6 as we headed to the loos. “You can go to the ladies, but you have to answer me when I call out to make sure you’re alright. Alright?”
She agreed, and disappeared into the ladies. I stood outside talking to her and kept an eye on the kids in the wading pool. In actual fact I was just thinking this worked out really well when there was a klaxon like bellow from the wading pool after which I decided our day at the pool was over, and I bought the kids an ice-cream to bribe them to go quietly to the car.
“Daaadeeeee!” screamed Miss3 from all of twenty meters away, and it seemed every head in and around the pool turned in our direction. “I poooooooo!”
Given that her comment sounded suspiciously like past tense, I suspect the chuckles from the teens was because they mistakenly assumed the water in their big pool is somehow completely separate to the water in the wading pool. But I wasn’t waiting around to explain the pool filter system to them.
And if you use the G-town public pool you’ll be pleased as I was to know she actually hadn’t.
“How was it?” Tracey asked me when we arrived home.
“Thankfullynot as shitty as it could have been,” I assured her.
What are your public pool horror stories?
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’
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