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There are few things in life I enjoy more than being in or near a swimming pool. The smells, the sounds, the cool water on a hot summer day, the warm sun on my pale, pale, paaaaaaaaaale skin. I am a born and raised Floridian. I grew up with a pool in my backyard and the beach two blocks down the road. Because, for some unknown reason, my favorite movie as a little kid was… wait for it… Jaws, I much preferred the safe, backyard pool to the irrational (but really totally possible) fear of being brutally shred to bits by a great white. There was no doubt in my mind that if I so much as put one toe in the ocean I would never see the light of day again. So… backyard pool it was!
Even now, as an adult with three young kids, poolside is still my favorite place to be. I dutifully tend to my backyard pool all year long in anticipation of those lazy summer days. However, I can’t help but notice the stark differences between my pool experiences as a carefree kid and my pool experiences as a parent with responsibilities. Weird how that happens. If you are new to this parent-pool scenario, then allow me to offer some sage tidbits of information so you are not blindsided by the whole event. Here are ten things you need to know before heading to the pool with your kids this summer:
1.) Your hair will get wet. It will. Just get over it now. Even though you might be trying to save that hair for an event later that night or work the next day, it won’t last. Kids, for whatever reason, won’t back down until you are completely submerged under the water.
“Mommy! Get your hair wet! Go under! Go, under Mommy! No… I mean ALL the way under!”
2.) If you get in the pool with your kids, they will be all up on you like baby spiders clinging to the back of a mama spider. Ever seen that? They will completely neglect the 18 inflatables you graciously bought for their summer enjoyment and, instead, be dangling off of your arms, legs and neck.
“Be a dolphin, Mommy! Swim across the pool with me holding onto your hair like reigns!! Do it! Go Under! Get your hair wet! Why don’t you want to get your hair wet?!”
3.) Choose your pool games wisely. If you teach your kids a new pool game, they will ask you to play it no less than 8 trillion times, it will never get old to them…. ever.
4.) Go ahead and kiss your bladder, intestines, reproductive organs and all other body parts that sit below the belly button but above the mid-thigh goodbye. This area is now the pool “strike zone,” and has been re-purposed as their own personal diving board. (This one is especially true if you have a kid who is learning how to swim… ouch!)
5.) You might want to start some deep breathing exercises and gentle calisthenics now to prepare for the mental, emotional and physical battle that is putting on the sunscreen. Trying to properly apply this lotion is like trying to catch a wild Alaskan salmon swimming upstream with your naked hands. Look, I am not a grizzly bear. And… reapply after 80 minutes of vigorous swimming or sweating? Thanks for the suggestion, Banana Boat, but, nah. I’m good.
6.) Speaking of sunscreen, it will absolutely, 100%, without a doubt end up in someone’s eyes. Possibly yours. Even if you take the most careful and delicate of precautions, it will somehow migrate up their cheeks and down their foreheads to their eyeballs where it will wreak havoc on their poor little pupils. Enter, stage right: massive meltdown. Exit, stage left: all pool time fun. There is only one face stick I have found that keeps sensitive skin protected and little eyes free of irritation. To get it, click here.
7.) Nothing motivates a child’s bowels quiet like chemically treated water. In other words, your kids will have to poop approximately 3 seconds after they get in the pool. This, of course, means that you have to rush them to the nearest potty and help them peel off their wet bathing suit which feels as if it has been vacuumed sealed to their skin like a chicken breast in a Foodsaver bag. Please keep in mind that they are dripping with a mixture of pool water, grass clippings and mud and have trailed this mess into the bathroom and onto the toilet. As for your other kids, you better hope and pray they’re strong swimmers and can be left in the pool unattended for a brief time. Otherwise, you are taking the whole crew into the bathroom with you.
8.) If you bust out the pool skimmer net while your kids frolic around and are thinking of doing a little pool maintenance, think again. In their eyes, that pool skimmer is nothing but a toy. A ski-rope. A po-go stick. A merry-go-round. They will hold on for dear life while you fruitlessly attempt to get that dead frog out of the deep end.
9.) You will spend at least an hour getting ready for the pool. Donning suits, applying sunscreen, negotiating trips to the bathroom, finding lost goggles, collecting towels, snacks and water cups so you don’t have to make 37 trips back inside. And then, approximately 5 minutes after your children get into the pool, one if not all of them will declare, “I’m done.” Oh, no you are not. You are not going back inside. Over. My. Dead. Body.
10.) Last, but not least, if you don’t want to spend 27 hours blowing up pool floats and if you care about the health and well-being of your lungs and if you would rather not end up passed out and face-down on the pool deck then… for the love of all that is good in this world, buy an electric air pump off of Amazon for less than $15. You’re welcome.
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