Swim teachers have the world’s best job. They make parents sing in the water while lugging the deadweight of their floating babies, whose interest is lost in a centre’s cacophony of sounds, the light bouncing off ripples.
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Parents, meanwhile, are at the mercy of these halls of pain.
Am I exaggerating? Probably – definitely.
But it’s not that we don’t want our children to swim and enjoy the water, or see ones not our own execute deafening, bruising bellywhacks.
It’s the exposure. The mad rush.
From getting in there, doing the deed and getting out with child still on your hip, without the change room’s scarring visuals.
My little mate, however, takes it all in his stride. One now, my boy is returning to the pool after a long winter.
My wife and I want him to swim.
And, earlier this year, he was beginning to kick his legs and cope with floating on his back.
The hiatus, though, sparked nonchalance.
Last week ‘hokey pokey’, performed by singing, dancing dads as well as mums, got most toddlers in our group grinning and splashing.
Little mate, though, just floats. Wide-eyed, his attention did not leave the mighty inflated dragon hanging over the pool.
“Dog,” he cried.
When it was the children’s turn to stand up on a floating mat, run across it then leap into waiting arms, little mate sat there.
Sure, he thought about it. I watched him straighten his legs and prop himself up on fluoro rubber.
But then he flopped back down, caught up in distractions of this intense world.
Don’t blame him really. He’ll get there.
He floats on his back, even keeps calm under water.
I just wish there were more cubicles in the change rooms.
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