As we join our nervous heroine, she has just embarked on that right of passage for moms everywhere.....the baby's first swim lesson. As this baby is not the first baby, this necessitates that the toddler be left in the play area for the duration of the baby's swim lesson; another first for Awkward Mom. What could go wrong? Well, as it is Awkward Mom, everything. Let's watch as she battles family locker rooms, The YMCA PA, and that nefarious foe, the swim suit....
OK...things seem to be going well. The toddler took to the playroom, after a brief crying spell about why he couldn't go swimming. It helped that he couldn't see the pool from the play area. I managed to change the baby into a swim diaper and swim suit with some deftness, and I even manged to change into my own suit without dropping him...major feat. Now, if only something could be done about the fact that this swim suit makes me look like a hippo. No matter. This is a swim class for 6 month-olds and their mothers; I am sure we all look a little less than perfect. The pre-baby body is long gone and I am sure my fellow mothers will all understand. I mean, we can't all look like that lovely single woman over there, all tanned and toned. I wonder what she is doing with that baby? Must be holding him for her older sister or something. She is coming over here. To the baby and mommy class. And it is her baby. Great. Oh well, at least there should be some other moms...perhaps some other moms with more, well, just more. Oh, she is talking to me....telling me that we are the only moms in this class...and isn't that just too funny. Yes...hilarious.
It is ok once we are in the water and most of me is hidden from view. The baby and I are doing well; he is splashing and I am pleased that the toned mom's baby is doing the same thing. All is relaxed and well with the world until the PA system comes on and the man from the movie trailers starts talking. You know, the man who narrates about meteorites hitting the earth or killers stalking the woods in that voice that sends shivers down your spine and causes you to huddle your popcorn to your chest. Well, I found out that he moonlights at the YMCA. He comes on and says "Will Awkward Mom (actually they used my secret identity, which I am not telling you because it is a secret, of course) please report to the play area, immediately."
I wasn't aware I could fly...must be a untapped superpower. The baby and I launch ourselves out of the water and are in the family locker room in about 5 seconds flat. I remember to place (ok throw) a towel under him as I place him on the ground. Yes, the YMCA locker room floor; no time for fancy-dancy changing tables now. I rip off my suit as a family of 4 little boys, one dangerously close to puberty, enter the locker room. Their mother is bringing up the rear, so they reach me first and have an uninterrupted ogle feast before their mother can assess the situation. She is, understandably, horrified, and quickly fires off a text from the phone in her hand. No doubt to DCFS after my baby rolls over her foot, encased in a towel and speeding away at an alarming rate.
As she hands me the baby, I try to dodge the lasers of disapproval that shoot out of her eyes. Focusing on putting on my pants is a good distraction. I think I get one of the clasps of my bra latched, but it works itself loose later, so there is no telling. The shirt is completely wet and rather useless but I throw it on anyway as I run down the hallway. I am pretty sure that I break a land speed record and I arrive at the play area; panting and wet, with a screaming baby balled up somewhere in the towel in my arms. I have no idea where my diaper bag or shoes are. I arrive to see my son, my first born, the apple of my eye; alive and playing house happily with some kids I have never seen before. I rapidly search the room and see all three childcare workers sitting in a row across the room from the children, seemingly as far away as they can get. Relived that my angel is alive, I start to approach the toddlers and the adults seem to brace themselves.
"Poopy diaper." The lead childcare worker tells me, quite unnecessarily, it turns out. The smell of pure evil hits me from step one into the doorway. No wonder they paged me. This smell is about 2 seconds away from forming a vapor and choking all life out of the room. I want to be able to use the babysitting service again, so I quickly cross the room, shifting the towel/baby and picking up his brother with my other arm. This is not an easy feat, as the toddler, not remotely concerned or affected by his own stench, does not want to leave his new friends. He howls as I stumble back to the locker room, searching for my diaper bag, a changing table, and some shoes...not too concerned if they are even mine at this point.
As I enter the locker room and find my belongings, the toddler stops howling. As I plop him onto the changing table, I am so relived that I don't think to ask why a screaming toddler would just suddenly stop screaming. He started talking very excitedly about something, but I am rooting around in the bag and don't really listen. Lots of baby items in here...extra swim diapers, extra baby diapers, diaper rash cream, towels, swim suits, plastic bags, toys, my wallet, a granola bar, some earrings; everything a well equipped mother should have....if she only has a baby. There are no toddler diapers or extra clothes. And there are no wipes. Wait, what?! I have no wipes. That is not possible. Every mother has wipes. All the time. Always.
Nope. No wipes.
I am searching desperately in the bathroom for something, anything, to clean this child with. Paper towels. I find paper towels. I will not describe what happens next for the more sensitive reader. Needless to say, it was not for the faint of heart. By the end, I have the toddler in a diaper way too small for him and no clothes. Oh well, it is summer; he'll blend. I am packing them up to take them home when I finally catch the toddler's relentless monologue. "Pool. Pool. Pool. Swimming like a fish. Nemo is a fish. Swim, swim, swim."
"Sweetie, your swim lesson is tomorrow. We are going home."
"Swim. Swim. Fishie. Fishie."
"Not today, angel." I start to the door.
He walks toward the pool entrance. "Nemo. Nemo."
I take his hand gently and try to guide him to the door.
The honey isn't out of my mouth when a sound like a tornado siren starts emanating from my child. Of course, a lovely and unsuspecting family walks in, just as the toddler rips away from me and runs toward the pool, slips on the wet locker room floor, and crashes into a door. Before this, his scream was loud enough to peel paint. This new noise can be heard from space. I struggle to pick him up until the nice father (of the equally nice family that just wants to go swimming in peace) takes the baby from my arms and holds my bag. I scoop the toddler up and, checking for and finding no broken bones, I turn to leave. I debate leaving the baby with this nice and normal family, but he most likely has awkward genes and I won't want to wish that on these nice people. I reclaim him and we all lumber out of the locker room.
Once again, Awkward Mom faces the untold perils of motherhood with...well...not quite grace. Adequacy, bordering on the frantic, more like. Join us next time (in 24 hours in fact) when she will face the insidious lair of the YMCA once again.