#51: Everyone’s a Swimmer Baby, That’s The Truth

#51: Everyone’s a Swimmer Baby, That’s The Truth
5 minutes to read

One Thursday in 2013, at 3pm, I took my eldest daughter to her first swimming lesson. Three years later, every Thursday at 3pm, I still take my eldest daughter to her swimming lesson. Dear reader, over this lengthy period, I have come to detest and resent this weekly submersion into the depths of joyless hell. 

Granted, I no longer have to bounce around in the two feet of urine-warm water holding her in outstretched arms, because she’s tall enough and brave enough to take one for the team and go it alone. However, I’ve done my time in the parental supervision gauntlet. I have:

–      Leveraged a small degree of mummy-force to get her underwater for those illusive novelty (read: expensive) photo shoots. The ONE photo I ever deemed worthy of purchase shows her looking upwards in what a stranger may assume is a jovial fashion, but I know she’s on the cusp of a grade 1 meltdown.

–      Discovered that swim nappies do not always sit flush to the skin, allowing a rogue turd bandit to escape and flit around the pool, as I tried to simultaneously hold a slippery baby and catch the offending article.

–      Almost concussed her, by rolling out the mummy-force yet again to achieve compliance with the Superfun Let’s Jump In activity. I may have been standing a little too close to the side, giving minimal room for her to execute the rigid pencil half jump / half pull manoeuvre. The concrete edge only flirted with her ponytail, honest.

–      Spent five minutes or so wondering if anyone has ever orgasmed while straddling the giant foam noodle, pretending that it’s a seahorse and you are a cowgirl. I did not orgasm, but I can see how in the right context, someone MIGHT orgasm. A pool party at the Playboy house, for example.

–      Worn excessive make-up in a freak “mummy wants to look pretty today” moodswing. Of course, this streaked all over my face the second my big toe dipped into the pool, but no bugger told me. It wasn’t until my husband arrived home from work THREE HOURS LATER that I realised I was doing a mean Rocky Horror impression.

Now she’s a solo mermaid, it should be easy. All I have to do is pitch up, get her into her costume, fling her poolside, and recline in a comfy leather sofa for half an hour. Right? Wrong. So wrong. For starters, we have another baby now, a poor neglected second child who has never had a whiff of chlorinated water because I can’t afford to send her swimming as well. Coupled with this, we have a child who pretends to have the bladder of a gnat.

She will do a big old wee before we leave the house. She will do another big wee before her lesson starts. She’ll do a big wee before we set off for home. She does NOT need to do a big wee 15 minutes into a 30 minute class. She is attention seeking, she is bored.

The children have been taught that if they need to wee, poo or vomit during the course of the lesson, they are to calmly make their way to the steps, and wave at the bug-eyed CCTV camera. The mums are stationed in the waiting area, supposedly watching the display screen like mama hawks, but actually using the opportunity to have a nice chat. Several children will wave at the camera at various stages, causing us to sigh, trudge through the busy changing room, tiptoe through the barbicide foot bath, and retrieve a dripping wet child. Costumes are yanked down, little bottoms are placed on the little toilet, and said child is marched back to the pool to complete the session.

Every week, and I mean every week, I will breastfeed the baby and the child will execute the dreaded wee wave. I either have to unlatch the baby and foist her onto another unsuspecting mum, or ask someone to do wee duty for me. Both of these stand-in roles are undesirable, as my children are dreadful.

One week, enough was enough. “Look.” I levelled with the child. “Seriously, if you do need a wee, just go in the pool. It’s ok, everyone else does it, just don’t tell anyone. Please?”

I should have known this was erroneous. Not for hygiene, you understand, EVERYONE wees in the pool. Hell, I used to when I took her swimming. No, my child is a snitch. At 3.15pm, right on cue, the familiar outline of my child slithered up the steps and waved, with two hands for good measure. For the love of Jesus. I handed the baby, startled from her milk slumber, to the poor mum who happened to make eye contact with me. I stomped to the edge of the pool, only to find the instructor waiting for me like a praying mantis.

“I’ve just had to tell her that it’s not ok to wee in the pool, and that she probably misunderstood mummy, because mummy wouldn’t tell her it’s ok to wee in the pool. Would mummy?”

The child looks at me doe-eyed. The manipulative heathen.

“Er, no, toilets are for wees! Come on then, let’s get you sorted ship-shape so you can be back for toy time.” I take her hand in mine and tug her into the changing room.

“But mummy, you said….”

“Yes, well I think mummy was a bit silly. I’m sorry.”

“That’s ok. Mummy, I think a poo is coming out.”

One Thursday, at 3pm, in 2017, I will not have to take her swimming, because she’ll be at school. Delicious, heavenly education, ridding me of the aquatic burden. Except mummy-guilt will no doubt see me sloshing around the pool with the baby, who won’t be a baby anymore, and I’ll be trying very hard not to wee.

-SJW October 2016


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  1. October 18, 2016 / 7:17 am

    Everyone wees in the pool, it’s like an unwritten rule, isn’t it???? That orgasming form a noodle nearly made me spit out my porridge!!! Thanks for hosting #chucklemums

  2. October 18, 2016 / 7:33 am

    Oh I recognise all of this. Except weeing in the pool. As I am so keen to look like an uber-mother and general sporty type at swimming class, hoping that no one will cotton on to the fact that I have actually always hated swimming, I always offer to do any underwater tasks with parental involvement. And then all I can think about is the sheer quantity of baby wee I have just swallowed. Loved this. Gave me a chuckle on a rainy morning! #chucklemums

    • October 18, 2016 / 10:19 am

      You’re very noble! Baby wee, mum wee, dad wee, instructor wee… ????

  3. October 18, 2016 / 7:35 am

    Ahhh, the dreaded swimming lessons. So much money for so much pain. The bit where you told her to wee in the poo made me lol. Things like that always come back and bite me in the ass!!

  4. October 18, 2016 / 8:17 am

    No one wees in the pool at the Madejski Stadium pool!! Far too classy! We’ve been doing swimming for over 2 years now – when do we stop getting in with them?! #chucklemums

    • October 18, 2016 / 10:17 am

      Haha – 2.5 here but the rest of her group were 3. Make sure there aren’t any shorties!

  5. October 18, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Haha I love this! We haven’t yet got to the wee wave but I’m dreading it. I used to take Emma every week on a Thursday too but over the past 6 months I forgot to renew and it’s fallen by the wayside…they love it but the post swim chaos is very real and makes me question the swimming lesson in its entirety every time. Can I just say the orgasm on the pool noodle must have happened at some time, somewhere…xx

    • October 18, 2016 / 10:16 am

      It’s like with all baby groups, you establish the routine and then once you’ve missed a couple of weeks, it’s a real effort to get back into it. I wonder if anyone would ever be brave enough to admit the noodle thing ????

  6. October 18, 2016 / 9:59 am

    Oh god, swimming somehow makes make up harder to get off too, doesn’t it? You would expect that once it’s half off and all down your face it would be easier to wipe off, but somehow it’s so very much worse!



  7. October 18, 2016 / 10:22 am

    Oh god a pool noodle orgasm ???????? and the bandit turd! You are hilarious. I have a bit of sympathy for Mouse as swimming always makes me feel like I need a wee… but yes, THIS is why we don’t do lessons and I only take him to the pool when B comes too and it is all great fun. I just can’t handle the thought of having to get both of us dressed after now that he can’t be strapped onto the changing thing!

    • October 18, 2016 / 3:04 pm

      I’m back! For #chucklemums ????????

  8. October 18, 2016 / 10:37 am

    We had swimming lessons for over a year. I hate them. The joy I experienced on cancelling them was second to none. We’ve moved onto a new activity now – rugby. It’s SO much better! #chucklemums

  9. October 18, 2016 / 10:41 am

    We put all of our love, time and affection (and a generous sacrifice of pelvic floor) and how do they thank us? By ratting us out and causing (even more) public humiliation?? We haven’t dared to try proper swimming lessons yet, mostly as Miss Tot quite enjoys having a wee in the pool. And shouting to tell everyone that she is doing so. Just in case anyone wanted to know… So funny. ” Turd bandit” had me in bits! #chucklemums x

  10. Daydreamer mum
    October 18, 2016 / 11:13 am

    I’m not fan of the pool!! I don’t mind so much when we’re in but getting changed and drying hair etc is a total pain in the arse and I also have a girl with the weakest bladder ever!! #chucklemums

  11. October 18, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    Oh my god, the dreaded swimming lesson! For me it is the changing room bit; where it is painfully hot, busy, and wet. I once lost my younger son for 5minutes in a changing room…he’d climbed into one of the lockers and just sat there sucking his thumb! The worst thing was, my older son knew exactly where he was and watched me losing my shiz for 5mins looking for him!!

  12. October 18, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    The depths of joyless hell…Gawd yes!

    I put my middle in lessons and it was 80.00 a month… so if I throw the twins in lessons I will be paying more than I do for my car payment.


    • October 18, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      Bloody hell! I asked my pool if they do a sibling discount and he said yes, for 5 children plus?! Either he didn’t understand the question or he’s quite ambitious for thinking that a family with FIVE kids would want them all to have swimming lessons…

  13. October 18, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    Hahaha. I bloody hate those swimming lessons. I was so relieved when we stopped taking Oldest and Youngest has never been. I am a bad mummy! I also told Oldest it was ok to wee in the pool after getting fed-up of it all, whoops. I am very jealous that you have a camera, sounds much more civilised than having to wait next to the heated pool whilst sweating under carrying little one and all of oldest’s clothes xxx

  14. October 18, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    Sitting at swimming with baby on lap right now, how funny. M gets out the pool to wee nearly every week too / ridiculous! Hilarious re: waving at CCTV camera. Funny vision of mums jabbering and sighing when their downtime is ruined… #chucklemums

  15. October 18, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    We were thinking of getting swimming lessons for Peachy, but then we learned that I would basically be expected to grab her by the ankles and pull her under. I’m not doing that! Sounds like I dodged a bullet. I’ll teach her how to swim when she gets older. #chucklemums

  16. October 18, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    Oh I’m in hysterics over here! I know this all too well, so I’m not laughing at you…just with you. Sort of…I’m just glad someone shares my pain and understands why I call my littles “the terrorists” #chucklemums

  17. October 18, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    Bahahaha… you traitor! I totally would have done the same. And we all need to use the term ‘rogue turd bandit’ more often. #chucklemums

  18. October 18, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Omg I DETEST swimming lessons and if I could write the word ‘detest’ bigger and make it flash neon I would because THATs his much I hate them. Our eldest is now at a point we predetermined so that we had a light at the end of the tunnel – “when he can swim 15 metres he can stop”. i know that, had he been unable to achieve this is have simple lowered the benchmark. We also have a second younger child now who, at 20 months we have started to take swimming. I completely refuse to pay £12 for half an hour of submersing him in a pool which is just tepid enough to be completely uncomfortable. I totally relate to this which is why j was sniggering throughout 🙂 #chucklemums

  19. October 18, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    That child has not got your back but you will seek revenge when she is a teenager. Oh then the stories you’ll tell. Now is the time for my pooing in the pool story ala my emoji poo post. One day I decided to take the Child swimming, she hadn’t done a poo for a couple of days so every 2.35 seconds I asked if she needed a poo. She assured me she did not until the telltale red face/ lok of concentration overtook her. Once she starts there’s no stopping her so all I could do was hoist her up out of the water like baby Simba whilst she squeezed out the mother of all turds. I then took her to change her swim nappy so we could go back in and the lifeguard told me we were allowed for hygiene reasons. No poo touched the water ffs. #chucklemums

    • October 18, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      That story was WELL WORTH the wait! The shame of being told you could no longer enter the contaminated waters even though you saved said water from any poo contact. At least it didn’t have to be chased around the pool with a fishing net.

  20. October 18, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    Feeling your pain on the poor, neglected second baby. Actually lol at this ???????? #chucklemums

  21. October 18, 2016 / 9:49 pm

    Oooooooh no, I can’t believe she ratted on you! At least she didn’t do a poo in the pool though lol. Those pool noodles send our class into giggle fits – have you seen the Mr Tumble doing horsey horsey? #chucklemums

  22. Debbie
    October 18, 2016 / 11:23 pm

    Ah the beloved swimming lessons! Ann bitchmoore springs to mind. Joyess times xxx

  23. October 20, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    you are a better parent than me. I have never taken mine swimming. I was too traumatised by my friends brother shitting in the pool when I was 7 to ever set foot near a pool again. You need to teach your kid to lie better though and not grass you up so much!


    • October 20, 2016 / 4:33 pm

      Ooh yes, that’s a worthy reason to be put off! I know, I know, she’s such a telltale. Need to knock that out of her before she starts school ???? xx

  24. October 20, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    This was a brilliant read, full of delightful images, such as the escaping turd. I personally hated taking my son swimming as he was able to get out of the pool and run away with far more elegance and speed than I was able to muster.
    I’m off to experiment with my pool noodle.
    Alice x

  25. October 23, 2016 / 8:52 pm

    Oh love this! I cannot swim and hate the water sooo much. Is it mean of me for not wanting to take my baby swimming at all. Water freaks me out! xx


  26. October 24, 2016 / 6:52 am

    I hate swimming. Swimming lessons, football etc are all daddy’s domain. Occasionally I am asked to attend and I do my duty but reluctantly I will admit! Warm pool= hair frizz! Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT

  27. October 24, 2016 / 11:44 pm

    Haha – I’m so glad I never signed the kids up to swimming classes! I instinctively knew it would be awful & you have validated my position! #chucklemums

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