This has been grating on me since it opened this season and we began our 3-month long battle with brats at the public pool.  I’m not a huge fan of public pools in general, anyway.  They’re nasty, dirty, germy, filth-infested holes, as far as I’m concerned.  However, since Mom died I don’t go up to her pool (and don’t even know, for sure, if my daddy opens it or not, to be honest), and I don’t see having a shallow above-ground pool here at home right now since Xavier can’t swim by himself and we have a black lab that can swim.  My dream is to, eventually, have an in-ground pool here.  But it’s just a dream right now. 

Anyway, back to the public pool situation.  I grumbled loudly when they were trying to decide if they wanted to build an “aquatic center” (as in, slides and crap) or a year-round indoor facility here and town and the town chose to do the aquatic center.  I would much rather have some place I can go in December and January and still get exercise than to have slides that aren’t used as much as you’d think they’d be….but, such is life.  We’re stuck with an outdoor “water park” that is open all of three months out of the year, instead. 

Now, this isn’t the largest of towns I live in, somewhere around 5500 residents.  However, we’re one of the only towns in the area that has a pool at all, so we’re usually swamped.  The price to swim is outrageous, I think ($5 for anyone 3 and over……3??  Seriously???) and I refuse to buy a season pass….it’s somewhere around $150 and we just won’t be there THAT much since I have to drive to get there.

But mostly it’s the other kids that are the problem.  Sure, Sabrina loves it!  She’s got friends that are there almost every day.  They take off for the deeper waters and spend hours racing eachother, dunking eachother, doing handstands….all the same stuff I remember doing as a kid at the public pool when I would (literally) ride my bike 6+ miles into town to get there for the pool opening and stay all day, then ride myself back home in the early evening.  I was the fittest “fat kid” you’d ever seen in your life in the summer months!!!

But it’s we parents who aren’t in the “club” at the pool who are tortured.  “The club” being the snooty, suntanned, sit-on-my-lounge-chair-and-occassionally-look-up mommies that circle the pool all day long and take up the limited chair space.  I’m (ALWAYS) stuck with having to put a towel on the ground and having most everything soaked by closing time!  They’re the thin, “well-bred” folks, “the club”, and apparently they have no sense of humor.  Or, they don’t have one as warped as mine.

Most recently, Xavier and I were playing around in the kiddie part of the pool.  He had his “pinkle can” that day, and was filling it up and “pinkling mom’s boobies!!!!”  I was laughing…enjoying his joy at “getting mom” with his sprinkle can.  I asked him, “Oh, do they grow when you water them??”  “No, mom, get little!!!”  “Oh!  Well, if they shrink when you wash them….go for it!!!”   Teeheehee!  There was one of “the club” standing near us, so intent on listening to this conversation and making the I-just-sucked-a-lemon face in displeasure, that she didn’t realize that her *barely* toddler had just fallen face-first into the water and was flapping around.  I chuckled and walked off with Xavier.  And I wonder why they don’t include me????

Then there are the brat kids who just seem to enjoy being little asses.  There are “fountains” along the side of the zero-depth part of the kiddie side of the pool.  Almost every time we go there is at least ONE kid who simply seems to feel it necessary to spray all the little ones right in the face with them.  There is never a parent near, so I’ve taken to chewing their little asses myself when they do it intentionally.  One of them, after I chewed his ass and walked off with Xavier in tow, turned his spray toward me.  He seemed to think better of it after I apparead to be charging him like a momma bear. 🙂

Today’s incidents were simlar to all the others so far.  We had the kid who would spray Xavier in the face just because she could.  Then we had “crab boy” as I’ve come to call him.  He was maybe 6 or 7 years old and seemed insitant on “playing” with Xavier.  In reality he was scaring the living shit out of him, but apparently subtle signals weren’t his strong-point.   He sloshed up next to Xavier (who was holding my hand at the time ’cause we were in water almost up to his neck) and started saying, “I’m a crab!  I’m gonna pinch you!  Pinchy, pinchy, pinchy!!!”  And would reach over and (not painfully, just playfully) give Xavier a little pinch.  But he was in Xavier’s bubble and X has some intrusion issues, anyway.  So, we just kind of (well, completely) ignored him and walked a good 15 feet away.  There he was again, doing the same thing.  X was about crawling up my butt at this point and I finally just had to say, “Please, don’t.”  At least this kid stopped.

Then there was the “club” who apparently are taking neglecting their children while at the pool to a new level today.

I have NEVER seen so many young toddlers allowed to roam freely in water in my life.  It would be different if there was a separation between the “kiddie” part of the pool and the deeper water….there isn’t.  It just slowly gets deeper and a kid would have no idea that they were in too deep until they couldn’t touch anymore.  By then they’re in trouble.  I kid you not, there were a good half a dozen kids who were shorter, younger, and smaller all around than Xavier is today who were completely unsupervised in any direct manner.  Now,  I don’t hover over X when we’re at the pool.  I want him to learn his own boundries naturally.  When he falls face-first into the pool, I give him a minute to figure out he can put his feet down and stand up.  But if he doesn’t, I’m there to help him out and the most common thing heard out of me at the pool is, “Oh, get over it…it’s just water!”  But seeing kids who aren’t any more than 12-15 months old just wandering around scares the shit out of me.  So, I find myself watching out of them and my own.  I figure someone needs to, since their parent(s) are too busy sunning themselves on the deck to bother.  I, somehow, can manage to get a GREAT tan while out in the shallow water with my son…but I guess their bodies must work differently or something.  Today there was a lil one, no more than 18 months old, who’d wandered out into the water that was almost neck-high and she was starting to lose her footing.  But, I guess that’s how you get to be part of “the club”.

I’m so glad I’m not…and that I watch my children and keep the younger one within reach so that he can trust the water because he always knows that I AM within reach as he learns about it.  I feel badly for those kids who’s parent(s) feel that socializing and tanning are more important than their safety.  They may, indeed, learn to “swim” faster than my child will….but at what cost?

Just, watch your kids, please, when you’re at the pool.  It’s not a hard thing to do and can really be an enjoyable time to share with them instead of being a bystander in their lives!!