If you’re a live-on-the-edge risk taker, then being in charge of small children at a water-related activity is perfect for you. Odds are you will definitely encounter waves of tears, you will probably run out of snacks and you might have to deal with what I affectionately call “sludge butt.”
Swimming equals sun exposure, which means you need to apply sunscreen, a process many toddlers believe is a torture tactic. Woe to the parent who forgets to apply SPF at home, because now you’ll have to slather your screaming, slippery angel in front of an audience. You’ll make it through on bribery and threats, and you will be elbowed in the face.
After your little one has spent 30 seconds in the water, he or she will request a snack. And then immediately drop said snack and need another. I recommend packing approximately 10 snacks per child to ensure a peaceful trip.
And finally, there is the granddaddy of all pool-related misfortunes: sludge butt, when a child produces poo inside the swim diaper. I’m still recovering from my latest incident.
During a visit to a family member’s pool, I noticed my 2-year-old standing stoically still at the edge of the pool. His eyes focused eerily on the water. It wasn’t an I’m-pooping stance. No … this was something more. It was an I-pooped-a-long-time-ago-and-am-now-realizing-it stance. My heart stopped as I approached and saw the … substance … oozing out the back of his trunks and down his legs.
We hauled everyone out of the water to let the pool’s chemicals do their thing, and after a lengthy cleanup session and wardrobe change, we were back to enjoying our day. I’m not saying I have PTSD. But I’m now forming a support group for other parents who’ve also known this darkest hour.
Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer, editor and mother of three.