Our 4 year old daughter is currently enrolled in her second round of swim lessons where she is doing it all on her own. I mean, sans Mom & Dad.
I decided that it would be a good idea to have her do them on the mornings that she’s not in preschool because she’s at the age where she needs to be doing something active, daily or she turns into a pre-pubescent teenager with her dramatic outbursts and irrational behaviour.
While she’s in her class, our 18 month old son and I paddle around the pool and splash away, burning off some of his surplus energy in hopes of an epic afternoon nap for him. This usually works out very well and our daughter and I get to spend a few hours in the afternoon doing stuff together like colouring, her homework from preschool, cooking or baking. She loves this, because now she gets me all to herself and I’m relieved of the refereeing duty of keeping our spawn from tearing each other’s heads off or destroying more of the house.
So after swim class, neither kid is ready to get out of the pool. And of course they want to go off in different directions. With the “Arms reach under 7” Rule, this makes Mommy swimming solo with the mites a challenging venture. We grab a floaty pad, not a floating maxi pad, but a foam “sheet” that both kids fit on, that doesn’t sink under their combined weight, and head over to the “river” and quickly float on down. Then a quick detour through the waterfalls and bubbles before heading back to the shallow end where Little Dude does a belly flop into the water. A couple minutes in the wading bubble pool and Mr. Man decides he’d like to go for a
walk run around the pool deck, prompting a hasty retreat from the pool area into the change room. Not before said micro man throws an epic spazz and protests being strapped into the stroller that we’ve parked along poolside.
Screaming all the way to the change room, one imitating a 2×4 in the stroller and the other stomping and pouting, we manage to find an available shower cubicle. I park the stroller inside and tell our 4 year old to stand guard as I grab our things from the locker right across the way.
As my back is turned, Little Miss Awesome, closes the door and locks it. I load up my arms with all our stuff, turn around and smack right into the door, dropping everything onto the soaking wet floor that has little bits of grossness swimming about. Through my teeth, I growl for her to open the door and by using that tone, she knows that if it’s not opened immediately, the afternoon is going to turn out very badly for her.
Once inside, swimsuits are stripped off, shampoo is applied and I allow the princess to do the rinsing of her and her brother as I quickly get dressed. Bad decision, ’cause immediately, water is being sprayed everywhere getting all our stuff wet yet again. Hilarity ensues and the kids are having a ball. I manage to get everyone dressed and the wee lad returns to his backwards arch as I try to get him back in the stroller. Jeez Louise! I pick him up, throw the pool bag into the stroller, turf the swim diaper in the bin and head to the van. Our daughter is being more helpful now, but insists that SHE open all the doors en route and throws a hissy fit when a gentleman holds the door open for us because she wanted to do it.
I just keep walking. At this point, I’m beyond nuclear meltdown and just have to get everyone into the van before I lose my cool.
We arrive at the van, I let the diva unlock the doors, but Grumplesaurus Rex will not sit in his seat!
Patience, don’t fail me now!
I wait for him to break his concentration and when he finally does, I get the buckles clicked. Touchdown!
The 10 minute drive home was filled with an awesome aria of screaming from the boy and the yelling from our daughter to “Be quiet!”
I couldn’t get home fast enough, but safely drove the posted speed limit, of course.
Have you attempted to take the little ones swimming on your own? What are your tricks to make it a fun and stress-free adventure?