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…