Accidental parents

Rowan’s swimming lesson last night was — much to his delight — in the sports complex’s baby pool. He prefers it because it’s shallow and warm, as opposed to the colder “big pool,” where he clings to me like a limpet.

The reason for the switch? You guessed it: an “accident” — of the solid variety — was spotted at the bottom of the big pool. From the fuss they made, it might as well have been a body. The pool was evacuated, floaty toys sprayed down, and all kinds of chemicals dumped into the water to “clean” it.

As the mother of a recently toilet trained (yeah! toilet training!) boy, all I could think was, “Thank God it wasn’t my kid.”

And then we practiced blowing bubbles and kicking and pencil floats and putting our faces in the water and jumping in. I finally made the executive decision to dunk Rowan , just get it over with. He shuddered, smiled, and then realized what I done and complained as the water ran down his eyes and snot streamed from his nose, to be washed away in the chlorinated water.

And it occurred to me — as it occurs to me every time we get in a pool — that we are all there under the tacit agreement that nobody will take too seriously the fact that we are floating in a cesspool of pee and snot and sweat and dirt. The collective denial makes it possible to get through — enjoy, in fact — swimming lessons. It’s only when something undeniably solid surfaces that we have to acknowledge it, deal with it. Otherwise, daily maintenance with filters and chlorine seems to do the trick.

Kind of like having kids (come on, you weren’t waiting for the heavy-handed metaphor?). We’re all floating in a poopy, drooly, snotty, sweat- and -pee soaked world out here, blowing bubbles, and doing our pencil floats, and swimming so that we don’t think —I mean, sink.