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Carrie Kenny Headshot

Swimming With the Kids

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MOM AND KIDS POOL
JaySi via Getty Images

We belong to a pool. It's a lovely community pool. It's close to home, clean and fun for the kids. Swimming is a great way to spend our summer days. But I think about this ritual of taking the kids swimming. First off, that implies that the kids AND I swim. Not exactly. I sit on a chair. Occasionally I walk into the water, about waist high, and I get back out. Sometimes, if it's really hot, I spray myself with water from said pool. It's got to be about 105 degrees (or at least feel like it) for me to actually get in there. When I was a kid, the parents called me "water bug." We lived on a lake and I swam in there daily. When we went on vacation or to a friend's house with a pool, I was in from sun up to sun down. Now? Not so much. I'm not sure why, but somewhere along the way, I decided that I do not like being wet. I don't know if it's because I've got this completely unruly head of hair, that once wet, resembles a tangled mass of seaweed. It takes about four days to air dry (or a good 45 minutes with a blow dryer and who the hell wants to do that?). Or that once that hair gets wet, it then needs to be washed, and my closest friends know I try to avoid that as much as possible (I know, next time you see me you are going to try to figure out when my hair was last washed. Don't ask, I don't want you to judge me).

Anyway, the pool ritual is really quite interesting. It starts early in the morning. I wake up before the kids and jump in the shower so that I can shave my legs again. When I get out, I examine them in the sun coming through the window because, inevitably, I miss a clump on my knee or ankle. Even though those legs were shaved yesterday, possibly twice, there still somehow manages to be a "clump." After deciding that my legs won't be offensive to whomever sits next to me on the lounge chair, I try to accomplish something around the house so that I don't feel as guilty that my husband is at work all day and I'm "swimming" with the kids. So I do laundry, clean a bathroom and sometimes even precook our dinner (then I can stay even longer without the guilt). I wake the boys that may still be sleeping and we go through what we go through every morning, "Come on guys, get your suits on and grab some breakfast, we need to get there early because (fill in the blank) has baseball practice tonight so we won't have much time." Then I round up the beach towels, pack up the cooler and invade the cabinets for snacks. Usually this is when I decide I need to take a quick dash to the grocery store. I end up buying 97 extra things before I grab juice boxes and chips to bring with us. I tell the kids it's time to go, and watch in disbelief as once again they all just start walking out the door. I look down at the floor in front of me -- beach bag, cooler bag, snack bag, wallet. "Um boys, I could use some help," I say again, as I've said the past 22 days. They trudge back to grab something and fight over who gets to roll the cooler. By now, my legs are already stubbly.

We finally get to the pool and they jump out of the car and start walking for the entrance. "Um, guys, I could use some help," I say as I say every day (see loading the car above). Again, they fight over the rolling cooler. No one has figured out that there are four of them, and four opportunities to roll the cooler -- from the house, to the pool, from the pool, back to the house. We get in, plop our stuff down on our chairs, and they start to walk away. Again, "Um guys, sunscreen." I swear it's like every day is our first day there, and we've been doing this for the past three summers! "Do I have to wear sunscreen?" someone inevitably asks, and my answer remains the same, "You'll thank me when you're 40." They make feeble attempts at putting on the sunscreen, but usually just end up spraying it in one of their brothers' eye "by accident."

They scatter. I put my towel on my chair. I settle in. I start to sunscreen myself and wonder how the hell the hair on my legs can grow so damn quickly. Within seconds, someone is back, dripping on me. "I'm bored." "I'm hungry." "Can I go to the snack stand?" Any of those questions can be asked if they haven't seen their friends in the first five seconds of arrival. If they have met up with some, they run off to play wiffle ball or ping pong or some other activity that will keep them busy for a while, but like me, they don't do much actual swimming. They make frequent stops by my chair to ask when I'm going in the water. I ask if the thermometer is past 100, and if not, I just shrug my shoulders.

Of course, sometimes I feel guilty and decide that I really should go in there. Clearly they want me to, or they wouldn't keep asking. So if the hair is due to be washed anyway, I'll acquiesce and jump in with them. We play around together for about 35 seconds before they flat leave me for a friend. Then I'm left alone in the deep end, being jumped on by someone else's kid. So I climb out, get back on my chair, settle in and think about how now I have to wash my damn hair. All for 35 seconds of playtime with the kids. Then, yep you guessed it, "I'm hungry." "I'm bored." "Can I got to the snack stand?" Ahhhh, the lazy days of summer.