A trip to the pool, and beyond

by T on January 14, 2010

Last weekend, we took Simon to the pool — that would be the Mt. Scott pool, for you Portlanders — for the first time as a family.

And while the Mt. Scott Community Center has what we’ll call a normal pool, with the lanes and the staid, elderly adults serenely paddling back and forth and the what-not, we were there to enjoy the spectacle that is the “leisure pool”. Which, as the aforelinked Web site notes, comes with “slide, current channel, vortex, and interactive play features, heated to 88 degrees.” Oh, and as we were also there on a Saturday during “Family Swim”, it also came with several thousand young children and just enough water to keep them all buoyant.

Actually, the kids weren’t too crazy, but the pool was a little bit crazy. I mean, in a normal pool, you have to deal with splashing from all the kids, right? But at the Mt. Scott pool, you could have water directed your way from any number of sources: from arching jets near the edge of the pool, from an intricate series of  pipes and buckets that looked what we’ll call “Seussian”, or perhaps even from water spilling over the sides of the multi-story water slide. Oh, yes, and from the splashing kids. Basically, Mt. Scott is pushing the boundary between “community center pool” and “theme park”, but without the smell of funnel cake.

Oh, and hello? Did I forget to mention the current channel and vortex — vortex, mind you! Only now do I truly understand what the ancient Greeks (and/or Sting) were dealing with when they referred to Charybdis! I guess if I had to further stretch my scant knowledge of Greek mythology, I’d have to say that the “Scylla” in this scenario would be the rough floor a mere three feet below the surface of the water, which made for several scraped foot-tops as adults with long limbs attempted to swim in a current channel apparently designed for much shorter people.

Anyhow, point being: This was quite possibly the most fun I’ve ever seen Simon have, ever. We’d support his body, his head above water, and he’d just grin like a maniac while wiggling like some sort of water-activated,  um, wiggle-worm. So happy was he that my similes fail me.

Such was Simon’s wiggling that, when we got him home (and had given him a quick bath to wash off the chlorine — “Sorry, son, this is the water time where splashing is less appreciated; I know that’s confusing”), he succumbed to a nap that, for him, was mind-blowingly long. That would be 2.5 hours — not so long for some children, but then ours is a child who not infrequently spends most of his 30 minute “naps” rolling around quietly to himself in his crib, as we only recently learned due to the purchase of a surplus military drone spy cam baby monitor.

Two-and-a-half hours! Just think of it! That’s over one metric hour of time to ourselves, to do whatever we wanted (provided, of course, that we not leave the house)! Why, we could read a book! Or engage in fancy grown-up conversation! Or surf the Internet, making sure to only read things of value!

And we did … some of those things! Sort of. For an hour or so.  At which point, as seasoned parents, we decided to turn this blessing of extended naptime into Yet Another Opportunity To Worry.

“He’s been asleep an awfully long time. This isn’t normal. Turn on the baby monitor.”

“Well, I can confirm that he’s in his crib, but he isn’t moving. That either means something’s gone terribly wrong, or he’s asleep. One of the two.”

“Can you hear him breathing? Turn it up.”

“All I can hear is the clock ticking. Oh, why did we have to purchase such a loud-ticking clock? I can’t hear if he’s breathing or not.” [It should be noted that, had we heard him breathing, as professional parents, we would have switched to worrying about why his breathing was so loud.]

“But I don’t want to go in there to check on him, because I might wake him up — assuming everything’s okay, that is — thereby ruining the Longest Nap Ever!”

And so on. Okay, maybe some of that dialog was only running in my head. And yet my point remains: pool time is fun time.

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