Today was a busy day for us (me).
We woke up early and headed to the pool at the local community college. Did I say it was early? Yeah, even the kids were rubbing their eyes as Mommy gleefully shoved us out the door. It was time for another round of “pool lessons”! You may recall that a few months ago my son took a three week, Level 1 course in swimming for little kiddies. I don’t know that he learned much but he got a certificate and he had fun. The nice thing was that I just had to sit in the bleachers, play on my phone, and towel him down after he got out.
Today he dove in for Level 2. Nice pun, huh? Rita? What’s that? You want to know about her? OK… Well, Miss Rita, not having taken pool lessons before got to participate in something called “Watery Tykes” or “Little Pool Tots” or something. It should have been called “Orca and Rita: the Early Years” as Daddy was required to enter the pool with her. And so, at 8:40AM a pleasant looking young lady approached us — there were three other little ones with their parents — and instructed us that we should get in the water before our children. Good thinking. I hadn’t had enough coffee. I suppose that does make sense. Better than just tossing the kids in first.
Before taking the plunge Rita and I looked across the water and saw Benny having a grand time. He waved and smiled. Then he splashed in some rhythmic pattern with his arms, very controlled, mimicking the teacher. It was like the scene in Toy Story 3 where the toys realize that they’re in the Caterpillar Room and the other toys are in the Butterfly Room. “Soldier on, son, we’ll catch up!”
Back in our section of the watery pit, I crouched down on the cold cement and jumped into the colder water. I then scooped my daughter into my arms and brought her in with me. It took all of three seconds for my usually boisterous little girl to realize there were other people in this pool whom she did not know. More to the point, she became aware that she was part of a class and was to be “instructed”. For the first ten minutes it was like pulling teeth as we went through the basics of being comfortable in the water. “Lady, I’ve put on a few pounds since I bought this bathing suit, I’m holding a tired baby, in frigid water with enough chlorine to wake the dead, and, oh yeah, it’s not yet 9AM. There is NOTHING that’s going to make either of us comfortable.”
“Hello, Benny!” Kid looks like he’s having a good time.
The next ten minutes were spent trying to convince my daughter to stick her face in the water and blow out air from her lungs. This was done, under the expert tutelage of our teenage instructor who confessed that she had not taught this age level before. Her motivational technique? Let’s all sing a song! Apparently the babies in the pool go splish splish splash all through the day. My daughter had none of it. And why am I the only one in a crowd who ever sings the damn songs when the leader tells us to sing? Anyway, Rita decided to splish splish splash in my face. That did elicit a laugh. The three other kids were more or less being obedient, doing as they were told. Rita ran with the whole “splash Daddy” theme.
“Rita, honey, look over at Benny! Wave to him! Look what he’s do – what the hell? Is he drinking a latte?!” Damn, I wanna’ be in Level 2.
The final ten minutes of our class turned out just as it should have been all along. Our wonderful, if not completely clueless teacher must have realized she was up against a brick wall. You see, the other three students were all boys. They may have been obedient, but only up to a point. And I could have told her that twenty minutes is about as far as you’ll get with the attention span of the average three year-old male before their thoughts turn to jumping, kicking, splashing, etc. Rita, ahead of her time, was simply waiting for the others to catch up to her line of thinking. “OK, parents? Parents? If you want to just go ahead and let your little ones jump to you from the edge of the pool? That would be great.” Teacher? Teacher? If you want to just stop using sentence fragments; that would be even better.
It took no coaxing here. My daughter loves to jump to me from the edge of the pool! We were finally enjoying ourselves until a whistle blew and we got out of the water. Funny how it’s always colder once you emerge than it was when you entered… Ben finished his brunch over at the poolside cafe and sauntered around to find Daddy and Rita, freezing, dripping shells of ourselves.
And to think… We’ve only got another two weeks of this… every day.
I couldn’t let this milestone pass without mention. Rita has been asking to get a haircut for some time now. I don’t know that she even knew what this phrase meant; but today her dreams came true. I took her with me and Benny (after our pool fiasco) to the Korean ladies who cut hair. They did, indeed, take just a tiny bit off the sides and back for her. She loved every minute of it!