When it comes to our weekends, it’s often temptingly easier to chill out at home. The chaos of a normal week, and the usual sleep deprivation of having a newborn, has made us a bit lazy. Or, as we like to call it, sensible. But the same four walls get a bit…well…samey after a while, and although some trips we live to regret (or at the very least want to cry about) we’ve decided new year, new rules.
Our new year’s intention (notice how I have cleverly not called it a ‘resolution’?) is to do something – anything – every Saturday and Sunday that gets us all out of the house. Today’s mission? Swimming. Straightforward enough right?
First off, the Boy needs some trunks. And unless Bear is happy to cope with a constant wedgie in the pool, a new swimming costume wouldn’t go amiss. Amazingly, the local supermarkets have a non-existent range of swimmers for babies, so off to Mothercare we go. It’s just outside Cardiff, about half an hour in the car. There’s a leisure centre not a million miles from there. It’s all coming together nicely until we hear those fateful five words.
“Mummy, I need a poo.”
In recent weeks/months, that little statement translates as “Mummy, I couldn’t wait – or even tell you 30 seconds earlier – I have, in fact, already done the poo. In my pants.”
20 minutes in Mothercare and she’s clean again, is the proud owner of a new Little Mermaid swimsuit and her brother has his first pair of budgie smugglers. To the pool, team!
11:45 (I know, I know. We’ve achieved surprisingly little)
The pool is closed. “Unforeseen circumstances” while they wait for an engineer. In my eyes, there’s only one reason why a pool would close so suddenly – someone has “done a Bear” and not given the forewarning required to get to the toilet. Well this is excellent. Breaking the news to Bear won much the same reaction as I expect “you’re going to live in prison for the next 20 years” would go down. Like a shit sandwich.
The volume in Llanishen Leisure Centre carpark went up significantly. It was screamy, stroppy, and a *bit* of man-handling was required to get her in the car seat. “It’s fine, there’s another pool we can go to that opens in a bit! We’ll go for lunch first, then…”
“LUNCH???!!! I DON’T WANT TO GO FOR LUNCH!!”
We should know very well by now that food is never going to be a form of bribery or bargaining when it comes to our daughter. In fact, 20 years in prison might actually be more appealing…
Morrisons Café. Our rock and roll, fun-packed, child-friendly Saturday has landed us in Morrisons Café. Hardly up there in our children’s ‘making memories’ bank, is it? But they do do a mean all day brekkie and stuffed jacket potatoes…
In the hour and 20 that followed (the other pool doesn’t open until 2pm so we had time to kill) I saw way more of Morrisons toilets than anyone needs to see. If it wasn’t one it was the other. The lady on the adjacent checkout even smiled sympathetically as I marched Little Miss I Need A Poo to the toilet for the umpteenth time, only to retreat with a knowing ‘A(nother) false alarm’ expression on my face.
Of course, Bear ate 3 frazzles and a carton of apple juice. The sandwich, crisps, yoghurt and fruit were packed into the change bag for tomorrow’s lunch.
This swimming shit is about to get real, people. It’s only taken us more than 3 and a half hours, but the (next) leisure centre is in sight. The carpark is reasonably quiet, the pool is definitely open, this is actually going to happen!
We look round. The kids are asleep. Of COURSE the kids are asleep.
There was a time when we wouldn’t wake those tiny little tinkers, looking all cute and snorey. But those days are gone – we’ve come this far, we are going in the pool. Even if they sleep through it, we are going in that pool.
We are in the pool! Praise the Lord, we’ve made it! It’s warm, there was no screaming in the changing room and everyone’s swimming gear fits. I say ‘everyone’ – mine was a tad snug, I’ll admit. But after today’s ordeal I would be happier to grace the local swimming pool with one of my tits hanging out than admit defeat and head home.
Bear and the Boy are loving it. Yes people, you heard that right – both happy AT THE SAME TIME! I feel a “Parent of The Year” award is on the horizon. We are all happily splashing up and down the pool, in fact to other families there I reckon we looked like we do this every weekend. That swimming is just a small part of our Saturday and not, in fact, a day trip.
Ten minutes in and those five favourite words make a reappearance, for what would not be the first time during our swimming expedition. In fact, “Mummy! I need a poo!” graced us with its presence at least 3 times. They were all false starts, but you just can’t take the risk can you? I might be happy to have one boob on show, but I could not live with the embarrassment of seeing a second leisure centre pool close its doors today due to a Code Brown situation.
We are home. Bear is apparently ‘starving’, and we are reminding her of the lovely lunch she dismissed earlier. The Boy is trying to fall asleep on Paul, but it would appear that the excitement of swimming is all too much as he wakes every 5 minutes to scream the house down. We have coffee on the go, although I suspect we both want something stronger and just aren’t admitting it (there – I’ve admitted it).
So there we have it. First weekend of 2017 and we made it to the swimming pool and to various public toilets. Very little else has been achieved, and yet we still feel pretty accomplished. Next weekend we’re going to go to a farm park. We probably need to set off now.