Friday, June 4, 2010

Open Letter: Pool Etiquette for Small Children

Dear Small Children and Parents of Small Children at the Pool,

I think we can all agree that the following should replace the rules posted right alongside: no running, no alcohol (stupid rule - you can't see inside my coffee cup) and no firearms.

Go Ahead and Splash Me, Kid
Kids like to splash at the pool.  That's fine.  Rock on, little people.  Sometimes they even like to splash each other.  Sometimes its fun, sometimes you get splashed in the face and cry but its all part of the process of being a kid at the pool.  Until you splash a mommy.  And let me state for the record that I'm talking about on purpose splashes.  I mean, if you go the pool then you're going to get wet.  I accept that. 

Its the kids who do it on purpose to be funny or obnoxious.  Do not even splash me, kid.  In one split second - it is game over.  My kids each did that to me - once.  So please understand that if it's some kid I don't even know that splashes me, they get The Look.  And they better pray to the God of Gitmom it doesn't happen again because I will say something.

When You're in the Water, Close Your Mouth:
Happy is grand champion at essentially giving himself a colonic at the beginning of every summer. Why this kid can't grasp the concept of In Water = Closed Mouth is inexplicable. He jumps in like one of those clowns you toss a beanbag into at the Halloween Carnival and resurfaces wide eyed and swallowing Maude knows how much. And then, an hour later, he's doing the Ten Finger Meet In The Middle Dance. You know, hands down, fingers interlaced at the crotch, hopping from foot to foot because 47 gallons of water, chlorine and - let's be frank - other kid's "oops" are threatening to cause a whole different kind of wardrobe malfunction any secon--too late. And now the pool is closed.

All Pool Toys are Not Communal:
Yes, we bring too many toys. Floaties and torpedoes and balls and swimmy guys and goggles and squishy balls and every other damn thing. And we totally understand that other kids will play with them and that's OK.  If they're out floating around and nobody is playing with - please, have it at!  They're toys and they are made for playing.

But, kid (and mom) see where it says "COUPON" in black Sharpie? That means it belongs to me, not that you can take it for cheap, despite the whole - you know - coupon thing.  Please don't wander off with my stuff.  And, if my kid wants his toy back, even though your kid is playing with it, it'd be super nice of you to not sigh and roll your eyes.

And, just so we're clear, yes, I bring a HUGE bag of toys, and yes, we scatter them around like monkeys throw poo, but, seriously, the Avada Kedavra unforgivable sin of pool toy etiquette is random kids digging around in my pool bag.  I keep all my stuff in there, kid.  My Precious iPod is in there and it doesn't like to get wet and my wallet and my phone and I don't even know - whereisyourmother? Oh, she's over there. Going through another person's toy bag. Must be genetic. Super.

The Snack Bar is Evil:
If you're like us, every hour, the pool "breaks" for 15 minutes.  I have no idea why.  So the life guards can take a break from all that strenuous sitting and vacant staring at nothing? [Editor's Note: But I do know I need to employ this tactic at home. Blow a whistle, call "BREAK!" and just watch them sit on the sofa for 15 minutes and quietly wait until the top of the hour hits and they can turn back into Temporarily Outside Screaming Indoor Homeless People. I'm totally doing this starting tomorrow. Soooooo excited! - Kate]

And then the snack bar opens. Mur. Thur. Fur. Kur. That's what they need. Seventeen dollars worth of sugared up candy necklaces and half melted Popsicles. I started last summer by saying "spend your allowance" and by Monday at 11:45am it was gone. And they spent every Maude-damn hour from 12:45pm Monday until 4:45 on Saturday pissin' me off.

This summer I decided to take the "I don't have any cash" approach, complete with shrugged shoulders and open palms. Guess what? They now let you use your pool account like credit. Get a Popsicle, put it on your tab. Umm, what? And who told me about this *brilliant* new marketing strategy. The IHPs. They were GIDDY! "Mom! We can just put it on our account! You don't need cash! AWESOME!!"

You're right. I don't need money.  I need to start a fire. A big one.

We're pretty sure many of these same concepts also apply to behavior at the beach. [Editor's note: Only I can't be sure because I would pretty much rather do anything than take my three kids to the beach. I adore the beach. I do not, however, adore a baby who eats sand, a little boy who fervently believes the waves slap them "on purpose" and a 7 year old who thinks she can swim the English Channel. Oh. And a husband who hates the beach and refuses to stay for more than 30 minutes. OY VEY. No thank you. - xo, Lydia]

In any case, it is our hope that no matter where you and your kiddos swim this summer, that the Jackhole family is not in attendance. And if they are, feel free to tell them we wrote them a letter.  Or three.

BREAK! Splash!

xo, Kate & Lydia

PS: Did you miss our pool etiquette letters to adults and teenagers?  They're completely obnoxious awesome.

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  1. Oh, my!! The God of Gitmom!!! So stealing that, too!! Thanks for the triple laughs, ladies!

  2. You forgot the pool etiquette for the know, those kids who are old enough to be at the pool alone, but still need someone's mom to kick their tushes when they misbehave! I personally am the "Mean Pool Mom" who kicks this obnoxious kids OUT of the shallow end where they are roughhousing and practically drowning all the itty bitty kiddos! Come on, you are BIGGER than these 3-6 year olds and you can touch and rough house on the other side of that magic little rope and I won't say a word!

  3. I'm loving the "Break" idea!

  4. As a lifeguard I can tell you the 10 to 15 minute breaks are for all the kids who think the CAN swim the English Channel. More drownings happen when a kid is allowed to swim for hours on end, because they get tired and, I'm not kidding, don't realize it and without notice begin to sink due to exhaustion. Of course, most near drownings are by kids whos parents use the public pool as an all day day care so there is no parent to watch the kid in order to pull them out of the water for a break. Oh the stories I can tell about parents and their kids at a public pool.

  5. Can they add the "Don't eat a slushie and then jump right in the pool so you throw up three seconds later" (see your "When You're in the Water Close Your Mouth" point...slushie + gallon of H2O = vomit).

  6. Thanks for this - I made my first venture to the Y pool with my 13 month old today and kept chuckling as I remembered bits of the two morning letters. Thanks, ladies. You make my day :)

  7. LOL! Brilliant. Many of the reasons I stopped taking my children to the pool.

  8. "Hercules" HelenJune 8, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Awesome! Hilarious as always! Thank you for so many great laughs - funny how all of our lives can be so different and yet so similar! These three pool etiquette letters reflect so many reasons I have had a pool in my backyard since 1993, within weeks of bringing home my first foster-child. 17 years, 23 foster-children, and 2 of the most amazing (now teenaged) adopted children later, I still have one (for all the same reasons). You ladies are the best! Thank God for your wonderful gifts of gab (by that I mean writing skills + computer skills to get it on this awesome blog)! Keep these great stories coming; you make my day... often!!! I just found you a few weeks ago and am so enjoying "catching up" on all of your past posts. Ever thought of compiling them in a book?!? You could fund that backyard pool (but then what would you have to write about?!?)

  9. Very impressive article and I had a great fun here. thanks for this post.




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