This is piscine me off

A close-up of a swimming pool showing only water.

A few weeks ago, Kate and I found ourselves sat on tiny chairs at tiny tables for parents evening when we were struck by a horrible realisation. Dylan’s teacher was busy telling us how well he was doing when she suddenly mentioned the fact that he will be starting swimming lessons after Easter. Argh!

Kate had taken Dylan and Xander to a nearby pool with her mum and brother a few times and we’d all had a dip in my parents’ one at their house in France last summer too, but neither of them were particularly keen so we left it. Until three weeks ago when we panicked with Dylan’s teacher’s revelation still ringing in our ears and decided that we must get them used to the water.

We went to the leisure centre I used to go to when I was little. Now I don’t enjoy swimming at all – I think it’s mainly because of the fact that I don’t like exposing flesh. I wouldn’t want just anybody to see me in my pants, so have never understood what the attraction is in what is basically wearing nothing but your undercrackers and jumping into a massive bath full of strangers. Anyway, we weren’t going for me, so I just had to get on with it. As I paid, I commented to the girl at the reception desk that I hadn’t been there for over 20 years. She stifled a laugh that gave away the fact that she wasn’t even born then. So that was a good start.

The place had hardly changed in the two decades since I’d last been there. The changing cubicles had the same crappy locks, the same music was playing and it still smelt of chlorine. Shocker! The only thing missing was the sign that dissuaded ‘petting’. That was probably a good thing though.

I drew the short straw and had to get Xander changed. I managed to do half the job well – I got his swimming nappy and surfer-like wet suit on with speed and ease. Then I got changed. He kept trying to open the cubicle door while I was in a state of undress and unpacking the bag which I had carefully packed with his clothes. Finally though, we were ready. We proceeded to the showers. Dylan wasn’t having any of it, but Xander decided to give us further proof – as if it were needed – that he is completely fearless. He’d managed to switch all four of them on before I could catch him and was completely soaked. Oh well, that’s the idea I suppose.

Once we were in the pool, I soon became aware that the pair of trunks I’d picked up were the wrong ones. I had forgotten that one pair was quite clingy and borderline see through. And I was wearing them. I resolved to stay submerged for the duration, but Xander had other ideas. The little bugger kept climbing out of the pool! I haven’t been banned from the leisure centre, so I think I got away with it, but it wasn’t a comfortable experience.

The worst thing was that Dylan and Xander both loved it and we now have to go every week. The French call it ‘piscine’; I think the German definition ‘bad’ is more accurate…


  1. Tim

    I can sympathise! I’ve also had to suck up my pride (and my sizeable stomach) to take the kids swimming, and although I do so gladly it’s not an experience I’m ever likely to put on a “top 10 things to do” list. There is definitely something about that chlorine smell that turns my stomach.

  2. Laura

    This made me giggle. I’ve learned not to worry so much about my body shape, but then I don’t have a near see-through costume to contend with! Glad to hear you haven’t been blacklisted just yet.

  3. Mariet - Practicingnormal

    Well, at least you only have two (so far). I’ve had to endure swimming lessons with five. I did not consider it fun. Much better to read about other people’s experiences. 😉

  4. Mama Herself

    I love swimming, so it’s odd I haven’t made any effort to take the kids for the last four years. Possibly it’s *because* I enjoy it. I might have to outsource that to swimming lessons.

    Best title evah, by the way.

  5. Ben

    Im afraid we’re in the love it camp, all 3 of mine love going and it’s a regular weekend activity for us. I’m glad you decided not to wear your budgie smugglers though

  6. Touchline Dad

    Well done, you’ll have given Dylan a flying (gliding?) start to his school swimming lessons. I get so cold swimming with the kids because there’s so little activity keeping an eye on them and playing, so am really reluctant to take them. I end up going at lunchtime at work, where our local pool is warm and I can swim lengths for half an hour.

  7. Verily Victoria Vocalises

    Hahaha! Sorry to laugh but I can just imagine how you must have felt. I hate swimming pools too – for a very different reason. I cannot stand footbaths and floating plasters and hair and wet bodies trying to get changed in enclosed spaces! Grace loves swimming though. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo

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