I took the kids to the pool yesterday afternoon for some rest and relaxation. It’s always remarkable to watch the transformation that occurs as the kids hit the water. All the hostility and snottiness they usually exhibit toward one another instantly evaporates, and they’re suddenly the best of friends. This usually lasts two or three swim periods, so I always try to enjoy it as much as I can while it’s happening.
The kids love to clamber onto my back, or hold my arms, as I move about the pool. We don’t actually do anything in terms of structured play: we just splash each other, and spin and frolic. And it’s absolutely delightful.
My personal favorite thing to do at the pool is to jump off the diving boards. I like to jump, dive, do cannonballs and suicides and anything that will make a big splash. The girls like to jump off the 16’ platform. Last year I spent considerable energy coaching and coaxing the girls to do head-first dives off the 3’ board. Tyler took to it pretty quickly, but as usual Tayler was extremely hesitant. Tyler managed a couple dozen dives by the end of the summer, but Tayler was still in single digits.
Yesterday as I waited for my turn on the board, I told Tayler “I’ll do a flip if you do a dive.” This was no idle jest: I was never able to flip as a kid, and probably only performed as many somersaults last year as Tayler had dives. Without any hesitation Tayler walked to the end of the board and dove in head-first. As Tayler swam to the ladder, I ran to the end of the board, bounced as high as I could into the air, and hurled my feet over my head. To my delight, I completed the flip and my feet hit the water first. Tayler and I shared a high five for our respective accomplishments.
After a few more dives off the 3’ board, and some more splashing in the swim pool, I suggested that both Tayler and Tyler dive off the 10’ board. This was a major challenge, as neither had done it before, but they both readily agreed. And to my extreme delight, both girls successfully executed near perfect dives! To celebrate, we all climbed the ladder to the 16’ platform for a victory jump. It was at this time that I noticed a small tear in my swim trunks. It wasn’t a big tear, and hardly threatening: the stitching along the side pocket had torn loose at one corner.
We made our jump from the platform, then retired to the swim pool for some floating and splashing. I joked with the kids that the rip in my suit was dangerously close to causing me much embarrassment, and they laughed heartily. Tayler revealed to me that Carina hated my swim trunks, claiming they were old and something – I couldn’t make out what she said, but it sounded an awful lot to me like “dorky”.
Tyler said emphatically “Daddy, you should get new trunks with flowers!” I looked at her quizzically for a moment before saying “Tyler, I’m a boy”. Tyler said quickly “I meant fire!”
I put the small tear in my trunks out of my mind, and continued to play with the kids and dive off the boards. I did a few more flips off the 3’ board, and generally had a great time. After what turned out to be my last flip I checked my trunks again, and saw that the small rip on the pocket had not grown any. Then as I glanced at the other side of my shorts I was mortified: the entire seam from hip down was ripped open! I hastily told the girls it was time to pack up for the day, and they both gasped as they saw the reason, and then fell down laughing at my plight.
In truth it wasn’t as bad as I had at first feared: the bottom hem held together, and there was little risk of accidentally exposing myself. Nonetheless, I tied my towel about my waist as we walked to the exit.
Now I need to go to the store to buy some new swim trunks with flowers. I mean fire!