“Hey Kids, Watch Out for the Cranky Lady.”
Yes, I am a mom, but every now and then I turn into one of “those women.”
You know, the cranky ones who really don’t seem like kids that much, and don’t try to pretend to be nice when other people’s kids do things that bug them. And who give dirty looks to those kids’ mothers, and complain to other people about the lack of supervision those mothers are providing.
Which is not to say I don’t like kids at all. Just not the ones who crowd the pool when I’m doing laps, recklessly swimming across my lane and underneath me, usually right as I’m going into a flip turn. (Yeah, this is more of a triathlete post than a parenting one, just so you know.)
It’s bad enough that I come up sputtering and coughing when these reckless kids run into me, or that they steal my kickboard. (“How many times do I have to tell you kids? A kickboard is not a toy!”) What really bugs me is that they bring all the contents of their toyboxes into the pool with them, and then let all those things drift into my lane for me to run into when I least expect it. Or they throw footballs to each other and miss, and the footballs hit me in the back of the head. (This is actually excellent training for the kicks to the head everyone takes at the start of a race, but it really messes up my concentration in the pool. And I’m in no mood to look on the bright side right now.)
Lately, since my dirty looks have been ineffective, I’ve taken a new approach: If it’s in my lane, it belongs to me. I take the balls, boards, and random floating items back to the start of my lane and toss them as far toward the wall as I can, so at least the little hellions have to get out of the pool if they want their toys back. But it’s not making that much of an impact, so I’m considering a new strategy: I’m thinking of bringing a giant locking Rubbermaid bin to the pool with me and placing it at the end of my lane, then locking each toy up as I gather it. I might throw a kid or two in there too, if they’re really bothering me. And if the bin gets too full, I’ll just start dragging the kickboards, footballs, and swim noodles with me as I go. My 100-yard splits won’t be pretty, and I’ll eventually look like that Texas-size island of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean, but I will have WON, you hear me? I WILL HAVE WON!!!
And something tells me the crankier I act, the more likely it is that the pool will miraculously clear itself of children every time I show up for a workout.