It’s official: we’ve reached that icky time of year when stepping out the door at 5:30 a.m. feels like stepping into a steam-filled bath room. This was the first morning when, at the end of my run (well, let’s call it a jog), I came back inside and it felt cooler in the air conditioning than it did outside. And you know what that means. It’s pool weather.
I am not a pool person. I can’t open my eyes underwater…in fact, in the last two years I’ve discovered I can’t even wear my contacts to the pool, because the chlorine irritates them so. I absolutely loathe sunscreen, and I hate being out when it’s so bright that it hurts my eyes to see the sun reflect off the surface of the water. I hate being splashed and shot in the face by water rifles.
Besides, what do you do at a pool? For me, the value of a pool lies solely in a) lap swimming and b) cooling off. Which means my tolerance for all things water-related lasts about twenty minutes, and then I’m ready to go home.
(The sole exception is theGulf of Mexico, providing I have someone willing to bob up and down in the surf with and talk to. Then I’ll stay in all day.)
But guess what? I have kids, and kids love the pool.
And I’m discovering that it can be really fun to be with kids in the pool. Because I hate the bright sun on the water and putting sunscreen on and all that stuff, I’m actually quite content with this stage of pool-going parenthood: namely, I can’t take them to the pool by myself. This means we go in the evenings, which avoids not only the sunscreen and the glare, but also the crowds of water-rifle-splashers. Heaven!
We’re working on getting Alex to swim to the rope. He’s lacking about six feet as of last night, and it’s very satisfying to see the fruit of almost 6 years of swim lessons ripening.
With the little ones, the goal is just to get them started. It’s taking a little time to get them comfortable again, but Nicholas is now a full-fledged water baby, dancing on the edge and leaping, giggling, into our arms…kicking and pulling with only a little reminder, and not howling in protest when we put his face in the water. Julianna’s taking a bit longer. She’s got a pretty high intimidation factor going; I brought her into the pool last night and she wrapped around me like a Devil’s Snare, but even she remembered some of her previous lessons: “Will you kick?” I asked, and she stuck her legs out behind and kicked. And although she didn’t want to jump into the pool to me, when I counted, she giggled in anticipation.
It’s a wonderful gift, to rediscover enjoying the pool through my kids. And as we descend into the steamy depths of full summer, I’m grateful to have the pool as something to structure family time around.