I love the pool. I love the sun. I love to tan. No lectures please, I know the hazards of basking in the sun. Did you know that new research shows you can actually become addicted to tanning? So there ya go, I can't help it, I'm an addict.
The summer after Morgan was born we went to a pool once and it wasn't a success. Morgan was cranky. Big shocker. She was about 5 months old and lasted maybe 10 minutes in the pool.
The next summer she was 15-18 months old during 'swim season' and she enjoyed the pool much more, but that's a tricky age at a public pool. There is a nice pool over in Weirton that we go to, and we would go about once a week. Morgan would stand at the edge of the baby pool, taking it all in. I could see in her eyes, the wheels churning in her head....'hellooooo babies....all of your toys are now MINE....and I will get away with it because I'm one of the youngest here...mwahahahahaha.' And that indeed is what I had to deal with; Morgan stealing all of the toys. She was the pool bully, making other babies cry. And she knew she could get away with stealing a plastic watering can from a 2 year old because the other mother would always say 'now now, she's just a baby, don't cry, let her play with it...' and I was slightly embarrassed and amused; ashamed my cute little chubby baby in her pink ruffle butt bathing suit was making other babies cry, but couldn't help laughing at the little pool punk. We usually lasted 2 hours at the most before Morgan was ready to fall asleep after all of the sunshine and thieving.
Last summer Morgan was 2 and it was a little easier to be at the pool with her. I could actually sit on the side while she played, whereas the previous summer I had to be with her constantly because every time she got knocked over (seriously, why do 3 or 4 year olds try to pick up babies?!) she would fall into the water and flail like she was drowning and then I would have to calm her down so she could go back to stealing toys. But when she was 2 she was a little bigger, a little more sturdy, and sadly, a little more mean. Not only was she stealing toys, but she was old enough to know better, and she would fight the other kid for a toy that wasn't even hers. The battle usually ended up with both toddlers screaming and Morgan trying to beat the other kid over the head with a ball or water gun or plastic shovel. And yes, I would take toys for Morgan to play with. She didn't want HER toys, she wanted the other toys. However; whenever another baby would touch any of her toys she turned into a Chihuahua guarding a food dish, complete with growls and biting. After 2-3 hours I would gracefully make my exit with my rabid toddler and the other mothers would sigh with relief.
This summer....Morgan is 3. Since she's turned 3 she has been a much more cooperative human being. Half of her previous issues can be blamed on her speech delay. It's hard to rationalize and reason with a human that can't communicate. Now she understands pretty much everything we say, even if she pretends she doesn't (we had a ten minute ordeal this evening where I tried to get her to pick up a pillow from the floor and put it back on the couch and she tried everything in her power to distract me from it, pretending like she didn't understand what I wanted her to do). I took her to the pool yesterday for the first time this season (it was also my first time ever wearing a maternity bathing suit....which is uber sexy...it even has a skirt). What a great day! Not a cloud in the sky, unusually hot weather for this area (the main pool is heated in the summer if that tells you anything about what sort of summers we usually have), and the pool was packed. Morgan mostly wanted to stay in the baby pool and the 'splash zone' area, and I realized for the first time I could just sit and watch and she could play and be independent. She can't swim, but she can play in the baby pool without any problems, and run through the splash zone. I had to use my 'teacher voice' a few times...I have zero tolerance for splashing, especially when a kid is splashing my kid in the face over and over. And there were some little pool punks with this huge water gun and they were spraying it everywhere, getting all of the 'mommy bags' wet so I had to say something. And there were some bigger kids randomly running through the baby pool knocking all of the little ones down. I don't know where the parents of these children were, I really wanted to congratulate them on raising animals. I know that Morgan has been a pool bully in the past, but I intervened every single time. And now she's so different! Yes she played with abandoned toys, but as soon as the owner came to claim it, Morgan gave it right back. I was so proud. And she ran over to every new kid in the pool waving and saying 'hi!' She had so much fun. I took her to the 'big pool' a few times and tried to work with her swimming skills but she's the laziest swimmer I've ever seen. She barely moves. Some parents just throw their kids in the water and wait for them to swim; if I did this, Morgan would just sink to the bottom. The big pool has several small slides and Morgan kept asking to go on them, but I kept telling her they were for big kids. So after a while she would ask 'I'm a big girl?' and I would answer 'yep!' and she trapped me. 'I can go on the slide? I'm a big girl!' Dang it Morgan!! So I let her go on the slide. I waited at the bottom to catch her since she can't swim. She climbed up, put her feet down, panicked, backed up, and all of the kids on the ladder had to get out of her way while she climbed back down. I knew she would chicken out. She always does that to me when it comes to water slides. Last summer there was an incident with a water slide in the shape of an elephant. I had to climb over about 13 little kids to get to my kid blocking the top because she was crying out of fear and refused to go down the slide, but the stairs were packed and nobody would move to let her back down.
After about 4 hours I noticed Morgan's cheeks were getting really red....and the tops of my legs were stinging. I had a really hard time getting Morgan to leave. i finally told her if we stayed too much, the sun would make us sick. She cooperated and followed me to the car, wailing the entire time. And then she cried all the way home. When we got home I realized how sunburned we were. *high five* to myself for an awesome mommy moment - I forgot to take the sunscreen to the pool so there was no reapplying. The bottle was still sitting on the kitchen counter when we got home. Morgan's shoulders and back are so red and painful. My back and the tops of my legs look like bacon. We've been lubing up with lots of after sun lotion....and Tylenol. We have to heal so we can hit the pool again soon!
Here's a picture of my little pool diva...she's learned the 'duck face pose' at an early age....sigh....