Let's talk about Super Toddler. Super Toddler is the Awkward Family's "Thing;" bold, strong, and utterly hilarious, without that whole pesky made out of rocks thing. He is our middle child, but you wouldn't know it. If we even think of paying him less attention because of his middleness, he quickly, and loudly, remedies that situation. From day 1 (when he arrived 2 weeks early during an ice storm), he has announced his fearless ability to differentiate himself from his brother. In fact, he is pretty fearless in general.
Fearless and completely at ease with himself; worry just bemuses Super Toddler. He has done every single milestone in his own time and laughs in the face of BabyCenter. When we had particular concern about his walking (detailed here and which finally occurred 1 month and 8 days before his baby sister was born), he would simply smile his huge smile at us as he crawled wherever he wanted to go. At the speed of light, I might add. Everything Super Toddler does is fast and big. He moves big. He eats big. He even sleeps big. Sleeping near Super Toddler is just asking to have a 5 little monkeys moment; he is never still. He chats away at us from morning to night, his arms a blur of rapid gesture and pointing. None of us have the slightest clue what he is saying, but he continues to say it, loud and with great relish. Yet another thing he has in common with the Thing.
Super Toddler swims big. (I know you were wondering when we were gonna get to the pool part of this post.) He has been "swimming" since the first time he joined Super Preschooler in the bath. I recall gingerly placing him next to his big brother and tenderly scooping some water up onto his chest. He looked up at me with such patience and then proceeded to dive under the water, swim the length of the tub, and pop up, laughing and clutching a bathtoy. His daredevil antics have only increased with time. This summer (pre-walking, mind) we spent a great deal of time at the outdoor pool, and Super Toddler loved every minute of it. He would crawl along the pool until it got too deep, and then he would keep going, periodically balancing on his hands, his head bopping up and down in the water like some tiny hippo; buoyant and gleeful in his natural habitat. He was totally heedless and merciless to those in his path. Woe unto the distracted; he ruined many a Marco/Polo game and took out a couple Perfect Moms. This made me super unpopular at the pool; well, that and my tendency to bring grotesquely unbalanced snacks and allow my sons to swim without swim tees and UPF+ hats. (PS...when did this become a thing? Was I sick that day?)
Anywho, it has been a long time since we went to a pool and Super Toddler's baths are starting to resemble those rides at amusements parks; you know, the ones that have a bridge over them to splash bystanders. My bathroom floor can only take so much. It is time to find him a pool, and find one we do! I decide to take Super Toddler solo. This is pretty unprecedented around here, where we tend to hang out en masse and in chaos. But after careful planning and bribing Awkward Dad with Chinese food, I am standing in the pool's fancy waiting area, holding only one child's hand. Well, I was holding it, until I went to pay and he took off for the huge wall of windows peeking in on the last class of the day.
Even taking into consideration that we here in the Awkward Family find the Chili's down the street pretty fancy, this place is truly elegant in the extreme. It is clearly new, every surface shiny and clean in a way the public pool can not hope to compete with. The waiting area is bright and festooned with tiki torches, while straw canopies cover a handful of tables, where the less concerned parents tap away on their laptops and phones. Of course, there is wifi. The more concerned parents are seated on a row of chairs which faces the aforementioned wall of windows, impossibly clear and completely smear-free. The helicopter parents are pacing the edges of the pool, trying fruitlessly to not get wet; I can hear the cacophony of splashes and shouts through the glass. I can also hear Super Toddler's shouts, and bangs, on this side of the glass. Oh, and that gorgeous wall of windows? No longer smear-free....
I smile apologetically at the girl behind the counter and sheepishly turn to chase Super Toddler. She stops me and waves over her coworker and, pointing at Super Toddler, asks her to take "our new customer" on a tour. Readers, I am serious. And she does! She scoops up Super Toddler and proceeds to carry him through the waiting area, educating him on the finer points of perpetual swim lessons and telling him why the water is kept at 90 degrees year-round. He seems more interested in the balloon she has for him, but she is undaunted. I pick my jaw up off the floor and pay the angel behind the counter. I then join the end of the tour, which has arrived at the locker rooms. Only they are called cabanas and they are private. I gather up Super Toddler and head into this opulent splendor.
All of you who have ever endured the indignity that is chasing your child, half-naked, through the damp, cold, completely gray horror of the typical locker room will understand why I plop down on the dry (dry, Readers!) bench and just sit there . I curl and uncurl my toes over the freshly vacuumed carpet and stare around me, full-on Country Mouse. There is a clean garbage can. A shiny porthole shaped mirror. A door that locks. And a contained Super Toddler, who really wants to know why we aren't in the pool yet. I decide to stop fondling the carpet and get him dressed.
Readers, it is bliss. There is no rushing. There is no shouting. There is no trying to hide behind a locker door when Perfect Mom walks in with her 6-pack-abs. There is no danger that one of my children is going to race away from me, slip on concrete, develop a huge bruise, and get me in serious trouble with Awkward Dad. I leisurely change Super Toddler into his swim diaper and suit. I leisurely change into mine...although, if I am being honest, reluctantly might be a better choice of word. This is my suit from last summer, you know, when I was pregnant with Super Baby. Roomy is a kind way of describing this suit. Baggy and falling apart is much more accurate. My goal is to not flash any unsuspecting children in it. Lofty, I know.
Did she flash any one? Did Super Toddler enjoy the pool? Did they ever leave their cozy cabana? For the answers to these questions and more, tune in next time! Believe us, if you ever wanted to know just how necessary swim diapers are, you won't want to miss the next installment of Awkward Mom!
Here is all you need to know about Super Toddler: See that grin? It is not about the cake...