BKLK_featured image_It was only a simple trip to the pool_funny parent story about getting a toddler to swimming lessons_summer humour

It was just a simple trip to the pool…

Want to know why I’m grinning? Because it’s SUMMER! No more cold, no more gloom, no more stepping in a puddle and discovering that my hi-tops have a hole in them. A banging hot summer is what makes us Australian.

Which means that it’s time to teach Little E to swim.

I seem to have fractured memories of blood curdling screams and white-eyed terror during my childhood swimming lessons. Can’t remember if that was me or the instructor. But Little E will be fine. I’m sure of it.

Off to the local aquatic centre for his first swimming lesson. Righty-o, what do I need to take? Little E’s togs, towel and swimming nappy. Sorted. Ha! And Phenom-A-Mum said that this would be difficult.

Hang on, I’d better take a few spare nappies in case of explosion (poo, not toddler. You’d need more than a couple of nappies to clear that up). And it might be cold when we leave, so I’ll take a change of clothes for him. But what if he gets those wet? Okay. Two changes of clothes. Food in case he gets hungry. Our two cats to tie onto him in case he starts to sink. Ooh, he might need his life size Paddington Bear if I accidentally leave him at a train station…

With the car sitting low on its axles (could barely shut the boot) we scrape into the car park. But it’s full. How can it be full? It’s 10am on a Tuesday. Doesn’t anybody go to work anymore? No wonder the world economy is struggling. So I troop an agitated toddler and fifteen bags across miles of burning asphalt.

With a lot of amused glances (and not one offer of assistance) the pair of us stagger into the centre. It is big. Overwhelmingly big. I decide to hit up the reception desk for information.

“Morning miss, could you point me in the direction of the pool please?” “Certainly sir. Which pool were you after?” “The one with water that you swim in.” “Very humorous sir. Do you want the baby pool, paddle pool, splash pool, kids pool, warm pool or lap pool?” I have no answer. “The pool pool?”

After wandering the maze for a while we stumble onto the family-change area. Little E and I lock ourselves in safely, and get to swapping into our swimmers. I change him first and then prepare to slip into my boardshorts. “Hee hee hee.” Little E begins giggling. And pointing. There is little so humiliating as a miniature person finding your nudity hilarious. He points some more. Giggles more. And then unlocks and opens the dressing room door. I was caught between the shock of being exposed to families and the amazement that Little E was able to undo the lock. That’s a new first! Where are my pants?

The clock ticked to half past ten just as we found the swimming lessons. I hopped into the water, surrounded by mums and their young bubs. Little E was placed in a lower age-group class because he doesn’t like water on his face. I could see the babies floating on their backs and splashing with their chubby legs. So adorable.

I lifted Little E off the pool edge and into the water. Blood curdling screams and white-eyed terror.

Maybe we’ll try this again next summer.


This story was originally published in the Peninsula Kids Magazine – Summer 2014/15. Click here to check out the whole digital issue for free!

Photo for the featured image by Mads Bødker and used under Creative Commons Attribution licensing. Click here to visit the original photo source.

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David Hawkins

Half nerd, all Dad & Founder of Big Kid Little Kid, the go-to blog for Awesome Dads. David is on a personal mission to become a more awesome dad to his two sons and teach them all the facets of being a major nerd. NES-off anybody?
  • Adam Clements

    Make them swim damn it! This came up on a radio panel recently. So many kids still die needlessly from swimming mishaps every year. Largely due to lack of supervision. I’m a swimmer. I made my kid swim. She’s no Olympian but has a respect for the dangers of water and those skills means she can have more fun in the water too. I used to have kick boards thrown at my head by my ‘old school’ teacher when I learnt, so maybe I screamed in white eyed terror then. These days it’s all ‘And thingamy is here today, and thingamy is here today’. Not a projectile kickboard in site…Make them swim :)

    • David Hawkins

      Damn straight Adam! Little E now loves his swimming lessons, so much that I can’t get him to keep his head above water. He thinks he’s a fish!

  • Tash from Gift Grapevine

    Whether it’s a trip to the pool or a whole week away, I swear I pack the some amount of stuff. Keep at it with the swimming lessons! After a few weeks Little E will be loving it. Might just take him a bit of convincing but in the long run it’s worth it. Before you know it you’ll be watching him from the side of the pool, waving, giving the thumbs up and enjoying a hot coffee (not one that’s been reheated 3 times).

    • David Hawkins

      Packing for a family gets out of hand! We just flew interstate for a week and practically filled the plane with our just-in-case items.
      Little E is loving the pool now. In fact, he rode the little waterslides all by himself today for the very first time. Such a proud dad, who is not itching for my three year old to grow taller more quickly so that we can ride the BIG slide together as soon as possible!