Going to the pool is like walking into a battlefield. It’s a large hole filled with water that my kids can’t yet navigate alone – a minefield waiting to explode at even the most minor misstep. And when you throw other people into the mix, it’s a full-on war in which every mommy and child must fend for themselves:
My sworn enemy: The kid who is too old for the baby section
Damn you, 11-year-old boy with a penchant for trying to do cannonballs in 2 feet of water. There is a pool for you. It is 4 to 5 feet deep and located just over your slightly sunburned shoulder. You are terrifying to my children, who unintentionally swallow insane amounts of chlorinated water every time you go crashing past them. I don’t want to threaten you, but if you keep it up, I will turn to guerrilla warfare, aka I will my child will pee in your pool. Don’t tempt me.
The neutral party: The parent who is taking some “me” time
If you put down the Kindle for a few minutes to look for your child, you might see her assaulting me with a squirt gun to the face. I have tried to be playful and polite when telling your daughter to take her squirt gun and aim it at the 11-year-old in the toddler pool, but it’s not working. I need you to intervene. I’m all for you getting a break at the pool. Believe me, I get it. But your child is trying to water board me. It’s time to get off the fence and do something.
The traitor: The parent who is hovering way too much
Look, just because my 4-year-old walks over to your 4-year-old, it doesn’t mean he is going to hold her under water until she stops struggling. My kid is just checking out those awesome pool toys. He is actually trying to make peace, so please stop running interference. Why aren’t you on my side? We should be in this together! Then you could save your dirty looks for that asshole 11-year-old vying for total pool domination.
The deciders: The lifeguards who are thisclose to losing it
The lifeguards are the referees here. These teenagers have more power than anyone else, and they can end this battle with just a shrill whistle blow. They could shut down the pool. They could fake a pump problem and force everyone back to their homes to stew in air conditioning. Sometimes, I kind of wish they would. Instead, they sit perched above the mayhem, just waiting for the opportunity to join the bloodbath.
The innocents: The old people who try to read a book
If you sit with a book (a paperback, no less) in the zero-entry section where toddlers play, your book will get ruined and so will your day. I will try to keep my child from stepping on the water jets and shooting a stream directly at you, but I can’t guarantee your protection. This is a battlefield, and I have to keep an eye on the 11-year-old trying to kill my kids while fending off the kid trying to kill me. Take my word: You want to get out of here as fast as you can. NO – don’t try to save me. It’s too late for me. But you can still get out of here. Don’t run, because the lifeguard will scream at you. Slowly walk to a safer place, like that table by the deep end. Maybe one day I’ll see you there, if I ever get out of here alive.