We are well and truly immersed in the summer holidays. The recycling bin already gives a satisfied clink when you approach it with more food. The days are long and the evenings fractious.
Gin is often the only solution.
I can’t bear to watch the house be beaten by children on a daily basis, so day trips are the theme of the summer.
Yesterday we whittled away the hours wandering round woods, playing cricket in fields, and swinging through the sunshine in the park.
Today was swimming.
I loathe swimming.
I wasn’t always a swimming hater. before children, swimming was a favourite pastime of mine. I liked nothing more than taking my waxed body to the gym pool. I thoroughly enjoyed doing a few lengths of the pool in my well fitting swimsuit. I delighted in relaxing in the Jacuzzi afterwards before having a quiet cuppa in the cafe then heading home.
Now swimming is an entirely different experience.
The gym pool is a financial luxury that was lost many moons ago. Nowadays we are all about the council watering hole.
I spent thirty minutes packing for the event. Four swimsuits, four towels, two sets of armbands for BB – so she can choose her preference poolside. Shampoo, conditioner, baby shampoo, detangle spray. Goggles, diving sticks, and 3 snacks for afterwards. Plus all of twin girls diabetic bits.
I threw everything in the bag whilst the children wrecked havoc in the house. Briefly, I remembered when I would grab a towel, swimsuit and head out of the door. I shook my head, casting aside memories of happier swimming excursions. This was my chosen path now, grinning and bearing was my only option.
We arrived at our destination. The local council pool.
We headed in, the children skipping on in haste, me, lurking behind, dragging a rucksack the size of Ireland.
As soon as we walked through the electric doors the heat consumed me and my skin began to drip sweat from ever pore. The rucksack started to feel like it had rocks in. I paid for our entry with slippy hands and a forehead coated in perspiration.
We paid and headed to the family changing area. A badly designed porcelain hell that allowed room for a maximum five people but currently housed ten. The floor had clearly recently been waxed as BB went arse over in seconds, creating an agonising noise that echoed round the pool, firmly injecting itself in others ears, which would be ringing for days.
The kids started to undress, twin boy launched underpants and socks in opposite direction. Twin girl folded hers immaculately then wailed as her sister walloped them onto the floor in order to secure a seat.
Everyone knew we had arrived.
I tried to change but felt a wave of self consciousness flood over me, giving a momentary relief from the heat. The other ‘family’ in the room were a mother and her eleven and twelve year old sons. From the directness of their stares, I think they had already discovered a premature interest in human biology.
I tried to be discreet, hiding my busom behind a Ben Ten towel. Then twin boy wrenched it out of my grasp crying ‘that’s mine mum’ leaving me bent double, swimsuit barely over my crack and breasts dangling down near my knees.
The other ‘families’ boys eyes popped out on cartoon stalks, then the giggles began.
Twin boy joined in, clueless to what the smirking was about. I muttered ‘git’ under my breath, BB misheard me and told twin boy he was a tit. It was not my finest parenting hour.
I yanked lycra over nipples, threw everything in a bag and headed out poolside. Returning briefly to collect my knickers that somehow had ended up on a peg, label side out.
I held the bag in front of my bikini line which last saw wax in 2005. It has been calmed by Veet since then but if I am honest it wasn’t recent.
Hoping no one would spot the foliage emerging from my trusty black minimiser swimsuit, I lobbed the bag in a locker and dashed to the pool, submersing my bottom half before anyone asked if Robin Hood was living in my Sherwood Forest.
We were in.
Within seconds BB had drowned me, splashed me, strangled me and kicked me in the place from where she was supposed to exit had her umbilical cord not wrapped itself round her neck. Again, my mind fluttered back to the Jacuzzi and the sauna, and water filled my eyes.
Twin boy had found a water gun.
I had the misfortune to be at the pool during Splashtime.
The siren for the waves bellowed round the pool and my heart dropped into my toenails. The pool started to swirl in an angry fashion and children stampeded over me to get to the action. A seven year old boy crushed my metatarsal, a toddler used my head to steady herself and took a handful of hair as a memento. A pre teen whacked me into the water face first as she dove over me to grab a much sought after body board.
I emerged, half blind, mouth spitting out wee infested water. Mascara dripped on my cheeks in a look Alice Cooper would desire. One half of my swimsuit seemed to be fast under my bottom cheek and my dignity seemed to be over by the deep end.
BB was snatching at my palm, pulling me into the swelling waves. She cried with laughter as each furious wave crashed into me, sending me spinning under the water, as I used all my strength to keep her upright and afloat.
My gym pool didn’t have waves.
My gym pool didn’t have pee in it from over excited children and mothers who mistakenly sneezed in the water.
Nor did it have a slide that bit at my legs as I cruised down it, feeling my costume slice me in two.
Nor did it have a shower area where toddlers urinated through their costumes as parents pretended not to see.
I miss my gym pool.
Tomorrow, tomorrow we are going to the library.
I will be safe there.