Parenting

Gone Swimmin'

Smiley is cranky today. Not enough sleep. She refuses to take a nap, so there's little hope for improvement in her demeanor.

Smartypants had her first dentist appointment today. She did well.

So I thought I'd do the good daddy thing and let them go swimming.

I say, "Who wants to go swimming?"

Smartypants shouts, "ME!" Smiley nods, her mouth opening and closing as she chomps invisible food.

So I set up the inflatable pool in the backyard. No simple task. Inflating the thing takes nearly an hour. Filling it up with water takes nearly an hour.

Finally, everything is good to go. I test the water. FREEZING! I tell everyone, "We'll have to wait."

At this point, chaos descends upon the household. Constant questions. "Daddy, can we go swimming now?" "Daddy, is the water warm now?" "Daddy, please. I want to go now. Please. Now? Please?" Meanwhile, Smiley repeatedly bangs her head on the sliding glass door, beating what little sense she had out of that tiny, black-and-blue forehead, demanding we go swimming. This lasts an hour.

I check the water again. Freezing.

Two hours later. Now the water is warm enough. I get everyone in their swimsuits.

Smartypants the mermaid bounds into the yard, hops into the pool, and dives deep into the ocean.

Smiley gets in and falls. Water rushes up her nose. She screams, demands dry land, and wants nothing more to do with the pool. Fantastic.

Ten minutes later I realize, even though the time is nearly six o'clock, it's still about ninety degrees outside. The sun silently burns through our sunscreen. Thankfully, the girls survive. SPF 80 is pretty safe. But me, I burn.

So I tell Smartypants we need to go inside. She says no. I say yes. She says no. I won't go into further detail, but I imagine most of you can guess how the rest of the conversation goes.

Eventually we make it inside, everyone crying.

Thus went our trip to the pool. Isn't it a wonderful feeling when you try to do something right, when you just want your kids to have a good time, and everything backfires? I imagine this happens more frequently as the kids get older. Maybe we'll go swimming again in a few years. Or maybe not.

I'll make them suffer for this behavior. Trust me, I will. Somehow. Or maybe not. It's nice to dream.

My parents tell me I’ll have my revenge with the grandkids come. Don’t know if I can wait that long.

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