|The Laughing Mom: humorous tales of motherhood|
|Written by Susan Pfaltzgraff|
Going swimming with a toddler and an infant is a lot of work. We managed to make it to the pool almost weekly last summer, but only with the help of friends and family.
One particular time, my mother was helping me. At first, her job was to sit with baby Alina who was asleep. I could tell it was quite a chore as I watched my mother stretch out to sun bathe. Meanwhile, I tugged Melise, my then 2-year-old, around the shallow end of the pool.
Melise, wearing her little float-jacket, would be perfectly content to float in circles for hours. I was getting bored though, so I decided we would take a little swim. In my mind I pictured Melise holding onto my back as I swam laps. It sounded great! I thought Melise holding on would be easy because she had the floats. She weighs practically nothing, right? Wrong!
As Melise held onto my shoulders, I did a breast-stroke into the deep end. I tried to keep my head up, but after three strokes with mouthfuls of water it was apparent that Melise weighed me down too much. No big deal, I thought, I’ll just come up for breath after each stroke. It worked great until I realized that I was putting twice the effort into swimming and going half the speed!
I crept toward the opposite wall. It seemed to take forever to get there. I gasped and sputtered as I finally grabbed hold of it. Melise dismounted, squealing to do it again. “No!” I practically yelled, “Mommy is obviously not in good enough shape for this.” Pant, pant.
Melise was quickly distracted by some older girls diving. When my heart finally slowed down, I held Melise’s hand as we doggy-paddled back to the shallow end. Alina had just woken up, so my mother switched places with me. I thought I was trading for the easier job.
It took me a few minutes to get Alina into her swimsuit. By the time we got back, the girls from the deep end of the pool had moved to the shallow end to show off their jumping moves for Melise (a very willing audience). I thought I would just cruise around with Alina in peace.
I forgot that babies are social magnets, especially to young girls. In a blink, I was surrounded by three girls “ooing” and “ahhing” Alina. Unfortunately, Alina wasn’t liking the water very much. And when you are surrounded by a bunch of small, wiggly people the chances of being splashed in the face are high. Imagine, if you will, a very chubby baby face splattered with water looking very grumpy about the situation.
“Why is she pouting?” one girl asked. I didn’t want to hurt the girls’ feelings, so I was trying to find an excuse to escape.
But then, one of the girls gave her finger to Alina. As soon as her little hand wrapped around that finger she pulled it straight into her mouth. For an instant I thought I should pull Alina away, but then the other hand had another girl’s finger in the other side of her mouth!
With two fingers to chew on, Alina was as happy as could be. She was smiling, although it was hard to tell with her mouth full. And that is how we all stood for the last 10 minutes of swimming: me holding Alina, Alina holding the fingers, and the girls squealing, “How cute!”
It was a good day.
Holyoke Enterprise May 17, 2012