I’ve recently stumbled across a little piece of parenting gold that I will now share with you. Swimming, or more specifically taking Max swimming. Not because it’s uplifting and contributes to the positive development of the whole child through the soothing medium of water, hell no, when I take Max swimming I get an entire extra hour of daytime sleep out of him, bingo! That is some reward for a bit of splashy-splashy time. Like most good things in life, love, health, friendship, fried food, the reward comes at a risk. For some reason unbeknownst to me I insist on sending Max into the aqua commando style, bereft of any form of pooh prevention. I squeeze his Royal Podginess into one of the many gaudy Lycra suits that well meaning relatives have bestowed upon him and cross my fingers that he doesn’t do a doo-doo.
I am aware that there are a range of reputable products on the market that will prevent the indignity of having our photo displayed on the window of our local swimming pool with a big red banned stamp across the front of it but I can’t seem to bring myself to take the plunge (puns are always intended). After a bit of psycho-analysis I have conjured up two theories that could offer some explanation.
Theory 1 is based around a need for adrenalin. Being a stay at home dad is largely bereft of genuine excitement, I have even overheard some dads at the swings suggest it has elements of Ground Hog day, the ungrateful swines! So perhaps I’m just a crazy thrill seeker trying to get his kicks any which way he can. It’s very reminiscent of the Russian Roulette scene from Deer Hunter, me being Robert De Niro and Max being the loaded gun, loaded with fruit toast and banana. Theory 1 is largely flawed because I was quite content with a good book and a cup of cocoa pre Max and wasn’t jumping out of planes on a regular basis.
Theory 2 revolves around revenge. In a previous life I was a pool lifeguard and once had to fish a toddlers turd from the deep end. It wasn’t so much the act of fishing the offending matter out that scarred me, it was the warning I gave to the oblivious swimmers – “defecation alert, code brown, evacuate the pool” was the best I could come up with under pressure.There is a 3rd Theory, an altogether simpler theory, that I am in fact a tight arsed, irresponsible parent with little or no consideration for other swimmers, but I would prefer to stick with Theory 2.
The Tight Arse Theory is consistent with my reluctance to cough up for swimming lessons. Max looks on longingly at the other babies who are splashing contentedly to the rhythm of The Wheels on The Bus whilst I dunk him intermittently underwater to help ‘develop his confidence’.
Every swimming trip climaxes with me trying to negotiate getting dressed with preventing Max from (a) washing his hands in the toilet (b) opening the door and exposing my crown jewels to the unsuspecting public, or (c) setting off the emergency alarm. As I said there is no reward without risk, these are however risks I will continue to take as long as he rewards me with a magical 4 hours of daytime sleep.