With temperatures soaring it really is quite unpleasant to be outdoors with the children at the moment. As soon as we step outside clothes feel instantly moist and clammy. Sucking in mouthfuls of hot thick air makes the heat feel intrusive. We’ve stoically sweated and endured the heat with friends at the playground on occasion but really the only pleasant place to be in Charlotte is in the water.
A few weeks ago the prospect of taking both children to the pool was a big fear of mine. Sam’s water baby days in Atlanta have long gone. From being on the verge of swimming independently incredibly early he turned tail and as my parents’ witnessed in England, became terrified of being in the water. My friend, Nicky, invited us over to her dad’s holiday cottages for a swim in their private pool a couple of times while we were over there too, and on each occasion Sam refused to stick even a toe into the water. He preferred to sit on the side, play with a ball and watch us having a good time. If I did manage to coax him into the pool I would regret it. It’s no fun being clawed and mauled by a loud and frantic four year old who refuses to let go and likes to wrap himself tightly around my neck.
Beatrice on the other hand is a thrill seeker, that’s for sure. She is fearless and that goes for water too. She is happy to get stuck in and get her hair wet. While Sam would cling to me with a death grip she would be shrieking and giggling and running off to try to jump into the deep end with abandon. The thought of keeping the pair of them safe and having fun near water terrified me.
It really is amazing what a Speedo swim vest and a pool date with a friend can do though. One Sunday Bill played tennis with the father of one of Sam’s preschool friends and then we met up at the pool afterwards. Sam initially refused to leave the safety of the barely ankle deep sprayground but curiosity finally got the better of him when he realised his friend was swimming happily in the big pool with his dad. I had scoured Charlotte looking for swim vests the day before but it was a task well endured as with blue buoyancy jacket giving him a reassuring hug Sam eventually fearfully waded onto the watery steps to say hello and stare wide eyed as his friend did “tricks” and swam, dived and splashed about.
Not long after that Sam realised that he could actually stand up in this pool and still keep his head above water. It was like a switch flipped and suddenly he was enjoying himself, fears not forgotten but at least pushed to the back of his mind. Then, even better. With Daddy beside him Sam was soon proudly swimming around the pool himself, like a “little green kitty cat!” He hasn’t looked back.
Now with Bea also decked out in her vibrant pink matching vest I can easily take both children to the pool on my own and not explode into a puddle of frustration and worry.