Swimming lessons – the good ...
Ground zero is Sherrie’s first day back at work full-time, and my first day full-time with the boys. First scheduled activity is swimming lessons – not an ideal match for a father in a cast. Luckily, I’m not required to enter the water. Instructors prefer to have their charges in the water alone, and parents are encouraged to watch from the cheap seats on the sidelines. Suits me fine.
We arrive at the pool nearly half an hour early. Partly because I’m always early everywhere, but mainly so Sherrie could strap The Big Fella into his car seat before we leave home. Lots of thinking time before their first swimming lesson is probably not ideal for the boys, but we make the best of the situation. Before we know it, we spot our two instructors walking towards the pool.
To my great relief, both boys happily jump into the water. The instructor nods in understanding when I raise my wounded wing in explanation. Both boys have a great time. No tears, no fuss, no bother. I can’t quite believe my luck. My first activity on my first morning is running like clockwork.
It's at this point experienced parents will know I was getting ahead of myself. Nothing with little kids is this easy, as I was soon to find out.
....the bad and the ugly
After the lessons went so well, I expect to depart in triumph from the aquatic leisure centre, formerly known as a pool. What happens next is The Big Fella decides he wants The Complicated One’s Bob the Builder towel instead of his Thomas the Tank Engine towel. And The Complicated One decides not to give it to him.
Towel-allocation is set by long-standing precedent. There is no logical reason why the allocation of towels should be questioned for the first time ever on my first morning flying solo. But questioned it is. And questioned in ways not even dreamt of by East Germany’s Stasi secret police.
The Big Fella is not to be consoled, by me or passers-by. Day turns to night, and still the tears go on. Finally, The Complicated One relents and agrees to swap towels. “I’m dry anyway,” he declares, shrugging off the towel as if it's of no importance.
The Big Fella is still soaking wet, his tears having washed away most of the chlorine. Still, he is thankful for The Complicated One’s generosity, and smiles broadly at his big brother. The Complicated One looks secretly pleased that he’s done the right thing.
A few moments ago I felt my head was going to explode. And now my heart is overflowing with love for them both. Being a dad sure is complicated.
Being with my boys all day, and knowing that it’s not just for two days on the weekend, it’s all week.
Not so loving…
Being with my boys all day, and knowing that it’s not just for two days on the weekend, it’s all week!