Summer is most definitely upon us; the temps are in the 90’s, kids are inside playing in the A/C and the heat is draining us of our energy. It’s a great time to hit our neighborhood pools to cool us down, take a break from the, “Mommy, mommy!” and for me, to feed my kids. When my kids ask to go to the pool, I know they must be hungry. Going to the pool stimulates something in my kids to eat as if they haven’t eaten in days. At home, they can go all day long without asking for anything and as soon as I say the word ‘pool’ they start salivating and climb into the pantry. Sometimes just for fun I will say a word that sounds like pool just to see what happens.
When I was a child, my parents had a lot of stray pets, as they could not turn a stray away. At one point they had about 10 dogs and maybe an equal amount of cats (please note this isn’t my usual embellishment and may even be an understatement). These animals were conditioned to starving and fighting for a meal and if a piece of food ever dropped from your hand to the floor a frenzy broke out like nothing you have ever seen before. It started with a tornado-like swarm, with barking and yipping and hair being torn out and at some point you couldn’t even make out if the animal was a cat or dog. When this did happen you took a giant jump back and would reach for a broom, bat or umbrella to try to stick it into the frenzy to break it up. THIS is quite similar to what happens to me when I hold up the last fruit roll-up from the cooler at the pool.
There is also a phenomena called ‘What they have is better’. It doesn’t matter who I sit next to at the pool, when that break whistle blows (think Pavlov) and they sprint to see who can get to the cooler first an immediate comparison is done to see what my neighboring mothers have in their coolers. “Why don’t you buy good stuff like Mrs. Jones?” Like an idiot I ask what Mrs. Jones has in her cooler and I hear the exact same things that we have, only in different flavors. A couple of years ago a neighbor and I planned swim lessons together with our kids and we would each bring a cooler full of snacks and stuff for lunch, and every visit to the pool ended with our kids eating out of the other mom’s cooler. I thought about switching coolers when we arrived and then seeing if the kids still complained when they were eating the “better stuff”, however they are a shit ton smarter than I am, so why put in the effort?
I don’t even try to pack anything for myself anymore, as I have learned I will be far less pissed off when I hear my six year old ask from behind me (with a full mouth), “What are you looking for?” and I turn to find out the one thing I brought for myself is being eaten by her. She does usually offer me the rest, after her sticky wet pool hands have fondled it all up, “Ah, no thanks, it’s all yours”. I would like to point out that when she sees this item at home she would never think of eating it, but apparently chlorinated water gives her some kind of diversified palate.
And much like home, or anywhere for that matter, I am a human trash can. We can be standing directly next to a real trash can and my children will hand me their trash. This occurs even when they have to take more steps to reach me than the trash can. I have to ask myself why I continue to scream when they do this, I burn more energy (not the weight loss kind) and raise my blood pressure and I get the same results time after time. Who’s the dumbass? That’s right, it’s me!
So I am off to the pool once again, loaded up like a pack mule with toys, towels and food. I am blissfully aware of my role as trash can and snack provider, which is probably still a step up from toothpaste cleaner and ass wiper. Who’s hungry now?