I love water, being near it, in it, on it, it’s my favourite place to be. The beach is the place where I feel most at peace. So naturally it’s important to me that my children can swim and be safe around water. They’ve been doing swimming classes virtually all their lives. Currently the boys do lessons at the local leisure centre and Wonder Girl and I do Waterbabies (swimming classes for babies and toddlers).
When signing up the boys for their lessons, in my wisdom, I chose 4pm on a Friday. Like seriously ,way to go, who doesn’t want to go through the ordeal of taking three children to a swimming pool at the end of the week when everyone is knackered. So there it is, I pick up Super Kid from school, usually whinging, and bundle all the children into the car to head straight there.
Now even on an average day this isn’t the most fun way to spend an hour. Today it was particularly unpleasant. Partly because I have chosen Friday as one of my fasting days (I’m doing the 5-2 diet, as I talk about here) so I’m hungry. A constant narrative of how hungry I am and how stupid this diet is runs through my brain as background noise all day. Then as we head out to pick up Super Kid I mention the swim class to Robo Boy. Big mistake. He apparently “hates swimming so much, it’s stupid, and he hates it, why does he need to go, he can swim already” etc, etc.
He continues in a similar vein all the way to school, during the wait for Super Kid and all the way home. Getting increasingly loud and more insistent as he builds up steam. Super Kid (who doesn’t normally complain about swimming class) joins us and asks to play on the Nintendo when we get home. I tell him no because we are going to swimming class. He throws his scooter to the ground in disgust, and declares that this idea is the silliest idea he has ever heard.
So I’m hungry and I have two children kicking off as we walk home from school. A part of me considers skiving swim class, after all it’s not much fun for me either. Even though I love trying to stop Wonder Girl throwing herself fully clothed into the pool, I could live without it for a week. But no, I am strong, if I cave now then I will only get the same complaints next week. Swimming is an important life skill, not really optional in my opinion.
In the car the cacophony of complaints has amplified to an unbearable volume. “Enough” I declare loudly “I don’t love taking you to swimming, I don’t love getting you changed then entertaining Wonder Girl, then getting you dressed again”. “I take you to learn to swim so that we can do fun things like swim in the sea and visit fun pools and go on water slides”. There is silence in the car while they ponder this thought. Then Robo Boy makes my day. “I’m sorry Mummy, I do want to go swimming after all”.
My children! They take me to places of frustration I didn’t know existed. Then in a moment like this, they turn it around and melt my heart.