Sean is in his last semester of Water Babies swimming lessons where I have to accompany him in the pool. In January he will begin lessons where I get to sit fully clothed on the side of the pool along with the other fully clothed parents and cheer him on to swimming independently – that is if I can ever bring myself to show my face at the swimming school again after showing everything else last week.
Unless you’ve participated in a Water Babies class, you may not really understand what’s involved. You see, there is the 30-minutes of swimming for Sean and me. And then there is the cardio workout for just me before and after swimming — or what I call the “dressing and undressing workout.” It’s a lot like Tai Bo with a lot of flinging of arms and legs.
First I get myself undressed and then dressed in a swimsuit using only one hand because the other hand is busy keeping the boy from any number of things he wants to do that I don’t want him to do. Then I try to get the boy undressed and dressed in a swimsuit while trying to keep him from running off naked, falling off the changing counter, getting into other people’s things, running off naked, nibbling on stray Goldfish found on the floor and running off naked. And then I do it in reverse 30 minutes later after swimming, only this time I’m trying to push, pull and cajole clothes onto a miniature semi-wet little boy who only wants to get away so he can run around naked screaming “I’m nayk-eee! I’m nayk-eee!”
Up until last week, I was able to manage all this without causing any psychological trauma to me or the other swimming school patrons.
I will do anything to get out of taking Sean into a public restroom with me because 1) Once we’re in there he has me hostage 2) He knows I’m in a vulnerable position and 3) He is clever and creative with his torture techniques. But last week after the lesson, having enjoyed too much morning coffee, I had to make a restroom stop before commencing with the post swimming undressing/dressing workout.
Right off the dressing area where mommies (and sometimes daddies) get their babies in and out of their swimming suits is the unisex restroom. And it’s here that I threatened the boy to not touch anything in the restroom before we went in. “Mommy has to use the restroom and you are not to touch anything. Do you understand?” He nodded his head and adjusted his halo.
So we go into the restroom and I push the little button lock on the door lever and remind him of our agreement. And he stands there by the door in his itty bitty swim trunks with his hands reverently folded in front of him. I’m thinking ‘Oh good! He’s in a compliant mood. We’ll be out of here, dressed and headed home in no time.” Which was all part of his plan to lull me into a false sense of well-being.
So I coax my damp one-piece swimsuit down to my knees and assume the public-restroom-hovering pose while keeping an eye trained on the boy. Now I know that this may not be a pleasant image for you, and it’s not for me either, but I also know that you have done it yourself, so I’ll imagine you in the pose and we’ll be even (unless you read this post, then I owe you one).
Anyway, the floor drain is just too tempting and I see him eyeing it lustily considering what it might be like to poke a finger into one of the gooey black holes. I can see him thinking this, so I issue a warning to stay away from the drain, which in the mind of a 2-year-old extrapolates into permission to investigate the garbage can. Like a pinball machine, I use one leg to block him from the garbage can. Yes, I’m that athletic that I can hover on one leg. I leg-fling him toward the sink which he spontaneously decides would make a very nice monkey bar and he begins to swing. Helpless, I offer up a brief but earnest prayer that the sink will hold 24 pounds and it takes.
I admonish him to get off the sink and go stand by the door — which he does — but only long enough to wave and say, “Bye-bye Mommy!” He then pushes the door handle down popping open the lock and pushes the door open. Yes, that very same door that opens to the dressing area where there are people wearing clothes. Unlike me. And that’s when I yell, “Sean! No! Stop!” Which was a bad thing because instead of just going out the door leaving me in privacy with my swimsuit worn like bobby socks, he stops and holds the door open (oh sure, now he’s obedient).
The mad rush of mommy’s and daddy’s and children in the dressing area getting ready for the next lesson can only look on in horror as Antique Mommy attempts to run after the boy forgetting she is shackled by a wet one piece swimsuit. Let me tell you, you never saw so many deer in the headlights.
There is no moral or real point to this story, but a tip: Never run on wet tile. With your swimsuit around your ankles. In public. Scratch that. Never take a toddler in a public restroom.