splish splash

Going to the town pool here is always an experience. Today was no different.

I’d hesitated to go because Kaitlyn is so terribly jet lagged. She woke up around 3 or 3:30 this morning and I wasn’t sure that the pool was the right way to spend the afternoon. Not that the fresh air, sunshine and exercise isn’t good. But a cranky 6 year old at a public pool where we only barely understand what’s going on…. that’s life on the edge.

Kaitlyn packed her own little bag of things to take to the pool: her suit, some lip gloss, a plastic bottle of lemonade. I can’t get out of the American habit of just tossing my suit on under my shorts and a t-shirt. Kaitlyn apparently prefers the French way of doing things. She took her bag into one of the changing rooms to get into her suit. She wouldn’t let me go in with her. That was fine; I stood right outside. But after a couple of minutes she started shrieking and crying for my help. But she’d locked the door and couldn’t calm down long enough to unlock it. For a brief moment, I considered just putting her back in the car and heading home right then. Well, right then as soon as I could get her out of that dressing room. But she eventually figured out which knob to turn which way and got the door open. She had collected herself by then so I dismissed any thoughts of leaving.

The temperature outside was about 33 Celsius. And the pool was about that Fahrenheit. It was cold. Really, really cold. I ventured in to about my waist but that was the most I could muster. I knew somewhere in my head that if I just got all wet, it would be better. But I couldn’t do it.

Kaitlyn begged me to stay in the water and play… which partially defeats the purpose of going to the pool which is for her to have a chance to play with other kids and not just me. She can play with me all day at home. Finally some little boy started playing some variation of tag with her. I was off the hook so I crept back to my towel and lousy book plucked from a big bag of books dumped upon me by another American. They’re in English so every so often I pull one out and try to read it. But usually that’s the thing: they aren’t very good.

Anyway, this boy started splashing Kaitlyn and she didn’t like that. I could hear her yelling “Arret! Arret!” Everyone could hear. Apparently, except this little boy; he would not leave her alone. Finally his mother (I assume) came over and dragged him out of the pool yelling at him that the little girl had told him to stop. I pointed out to Kaitlyn that she’d managed to get the kid in trouble and all she had to say was “will you play with me?” Not what I was going for.

After a while, the little boy ventured back and he and Kaitlyn again started to play. Minus any splashing. But he chased her endlessly. I could tell that she was getting frustrated by it. Which takes nerve. She finally came and sat on her towel by me and said “I think that boy is in love with me.” I told her it’s because she’s cute. “I have to figure out how to not be cute. I think it was the two lip glosses I put on.”

The public pool in our town is nice because there is a baby pool…. a giant very deep pool for real swimming and the high dive…. and a small pool. It’s bigger than a baby pool but smaller than a backyard pool. At the deepest spot, Kaitlyn can easily touch the bottom. It’s great. She can swim and I can sit on my towel and watch. The problem with the small pool is that all the teenagers like to hang out in it. I guess they get tired of clinging to the edges of the big pool, since there is no spot in that pool where anyone other than the Jolly Green Giant can touch the bottom. Today a group of teenage boys came over and got on each others shoulders for a lovely game of chicken… or whatever it’s called. They didn’t care that there were smaller kids in the pool. I walked over and suggested Kaitlyn avoid them. A few minutes later I looked up from my book and realized she was not only not avoiding them…. she was pushing on them trying to help knock them over. She laughed and thought that was great fun. I was relieved to see the teenagers didn’t seem bothered by the little girl trying to take part in their game; so I let it go. But the lifeguard, who never seems to be paying attention to any running or shoving or horseplay, went over and told Kaitlyn not to push. (I asked Kaitlyn what she said.) Mind you, the lifeguard did not go tell the teenagers not to play their game in the kids’ pool.

Kaitlyn and her playmate resumed their game of running (well, walking quickly because I told her if she ran, we’d go home) around the outside of the pool and jumping in only to get out and do it all again. Then her friend made a horrible mistake. She was taking what he considered too much time and so he pushed her in. She cried. His mother came over to me for a report and I sputtered out something that roughly said he’d pushed her. She spanked him right then and dragged him off. Eventually, she dragged the boy back to Kaitlyn and made him apologize. Then she told me that he doesn’t really speak French and he had been talking to Kaitlyn the whole time in Spanish. Just Kaitlyn’s luck. I’m trying to get her to use her French to make friends and she finds the one kid there who spoke neither French nor English. I’d have ended up in tears, too.

So it wasn’t exactly the happy afternoon I’d hoped for. But it wasn’t quite as disastrous as I’d feared it could have been. Either way, she stayed awake. Maybe she’ll finally sleep through the night tonight!

One Response to “splish splash”

  1. D.A.D. says:

    Quite a day at the pool, indeed. From being the object of affection to a Japanese-speaking lad, to the pusher in a teenage boy horseplay game. Kaitlyn is like Jesus: she loves ’em all!

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