Weston started swimming lessons this week. He goes on Monday and Wednesday for a half-hour lesson. While he is having his lesson with Miss Cathy, Shane and I go to the baby pool. The pool is about a quarter of a mile away. It's a five-minute trip by either car or stroller. Sounds easy enough, right? Shouldn't take too long; maybe an hour or so? What are you, NUTS? Or maybe you're a non-mom and thus unfamiliar with the logistical issues associated with taking two small children, well, anywhere. I could plan an invasion of North Korea in the time it takes to get ready for the pool, go to the pool, get ready for the lesson, have the lesson, get ready to come home, and travel home. I am not exaggerating when I say that the swimming lessons are consuming the entirety of the first half of the week, starting with Sunday night.
There is the endless preparation: Toys! Clothes to wear to the pool! Clothes to change into! Snacks! Drinks! Swim Diaper! Clean diaper for after! Extra clothes in case the first clothes get wet! Breakfast, not too early and not too late!
The decisions: Car or stroller? If car, stroller or no stroller? How to corral Shane while helping Weston change his clothes? Allow the crappy vending machine snacks or endure the screamfest? Is it okay if I don't hose them off in the shower before we get in the pool, because HOW DRAINING!
Then, the aftermath: The back-arching to avoid going into the stroller; the gross and time-consuming fascination with the brightly colored community flip-flops lined up by the door; the shrill, ear piercing complaints (I'm coooolllld! I don't wanna waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallk! I'm hungry! I'm hungry aaaaannd thirsty!); the fatigue that requires me to lay on the couch all afternoon with a wet cloth on my head, drink in hand, while the kids torture each other unchecked and watch 'Strawberry Shortcake'. Then it starts all over on Tuesday night.
Today, we got out without too much trauma, because Monday's experience gave me some hard-earned lessons. I took Shane in his sleeper so we wouldn't have to mess around with his shoes. I strapped him into the stroller so he couldn't run off and get wet again while Weston was getting dressed and I gathered up the 16 cubic yards of crap we can't go anywhere without. Then, we came out of the pool and Weston saw the playground next door and remembered I had told him last time that he could play after his lesson next time if he wasn't screaming when we left. And he wasn't, so I had to let him play. I let Shane out of the stroller to play in his sleeper, because, really, what else was I going to do?
They were playing happily when a woman walked by, saw Shane in his sleeper, and turned and gave me a very unpleasant scowl. Obviously, she must be child-free. I could read her thoughts as clearly as if she'd had one of those cartoon thought bubbles over her head: 'God! Can't she put some clothes and shoes on that kid? It's 35 degrees out here! How much effort can it take? When I have kids I'll never be that lazy!' I hope, someday, if she does have some, she will remember this day and feel very sheepish.
As an aside, this sign was at the playground. Should I be concerned? I certainly don't want my children exposed to some lowlifes who might be doing an IVF cycle or taking interferon, epinephrine, insulin or some other illicit substance.