So, since becoming a parent, there have been all but say 3 times where I have ventured into the grown up area of a swimming pool complex to check out the extra heated facilities…namely the hot tub!!
I have been content with being clung to by Twin toddlers; gripped by their nails so tightly that the marks have still been there a week later.
I have been left for minutes at a time by confident little boys, happily pootling about on their own, whilst still under the constant. watchful. intent. gaze of their Mother.
I have been abandoned by racing young boys, diving like dolphins, practising handstands and collecting sinking swim toys from the bottom of the pool (whilst under the constant. watchful. intent. gaze of their Mother!) and now with a 7 month old baby I am back to the toddler pools which is great! I do indeed love it. No big splashy people, just the occasional panicked look from a Dad who has taken his teeny child out for a swim and has realised that he forgot to put the swim nappy on…we’ve all been there!
We recently had a little break away to the ‘Parc of Centres’ located next door to a huge animal wildlife park (Lions, Tigers, Rhinos…all the usual creatures you’d expect to find close by to a tree filled family activity park!). The pool here is great, huge, many different areas. We (rather luxuriously) hired one of their ‘Cabana’s’ (I know Mr Manilow was singing that song over and over in my mind every time I said the word …he’s right back there now all over again actually!).
The Cabana (Aloha Mummy pictures herself in a pink sequined bikini, tan fishnets, new Yorker shoes and giant pink feathers pluming in an arch behind her back!) is a little bamboo type hut located around the edge of the pool area which comes complete with a large TV, reclining chairs, safe, fridge and drinks (included in the hire price) and towels. We were even able to get a playpen too. Soooo good! It meant that we had a base which the Twins could come back to after a swim, slide etc , that Bubs had somewhere she could snooze (this also worked VERY well for the Grandparents too!) and actually somewhere we could change if we didn’t feel we could face the ultimate confusion which is the changing rooms there (that’s another post altogether!)
Back to the pool. With the bonus of having the Cabana (Aloha Mummy does a little shimmy across the dance floor in her head!) I was able to leave snoozing Bubs with the Aloha GrandP’s and head off with the Twins for an explore. After telling me that we were going on the Rapids (joy! thank GOD I was wearing my dignity maintaing surf leggings – I will never be without these, they are the purchase of the century for me!) I thought Ok, I can handle this! Twin 2 told me with utmost seriousness that you have to go over the levels head first. (Little …..blighter!)
First hurdle dealt with I emerged in much colder water than I had started, had no idea which way I was meant to be facing, didn’t have a clue if my contact lenses were in fact still in contact with my eyeballs, and was being swept backward by a current.
The Twins were in hysterics! As I regained my composure and managed to see out of one of my eyes, other people around me were in fact ‘hurdling’ the ledges , sitting on their behinds and sliding down in as sedate a manner as the rapid gush of water would allow. They would then plop down into the next mini pool before getting back to their feet or expertly floating along on top of the current and the water. Hmmmmm. I looked at my Twins, who both by now looked like little Imps with cheeky smiles…nay…grins. ‘You told me you had to go head first!’ Laugh, chortle, snort, giggle, chuckle!!! Got me!
We completed the remainder of the Rapids with us all employing the hurdling technique (and me not being afraid that the Life Guard would tell me off for not going over them head first) and made our way back round to the warm outdoor pool and the hot tub pool.
This was more like it! The only problem was that I knew I would at some point have to vacate the hot water and feel ultimate freeze from any pool water I then chose to swim in. Nevermind, this was just sooooo waaaaarm! I sat there, steaming away with Twin 1 and Twin 2. As we were about to move on we were squished back into our seat on the wall by an influx of a group of about 8 young 20 something males and females.
Males – highly toned, Japanese style tattoos adorning their buff shoulders and biceps, manicured beards in place and trendy man buns atop heads.
Females – well at first I was highly concerned. They all looked like they were struggling to swim (and they were in still water nowhere near the Rapids). There they were, heads bobbing above the water, necks stretched as far as humanly possible, wide eyes moving from side to side but very little head turning actions and their little hands doggy paddle flapping away just under the water making minimal splashage.
I wondered what on earth could be happening – was this a new swimming stroke invented since my days of swimming lessons of butterfly, breaststroke and all that? Were they so slight (I mean there was not a wibble or wobble or teensy bobbly pobble on any of them – and you could clearly see that by the lack of swimming clothing. Bikini, we are talking bikini.) that there was a risk of being swept away by a slightly large man wading past them?
I sat back and observed. And then it hit me. Make Up! These women were in full make up, as much as I would have worn on stage for a dance performance! Full face of foundation, concealer, blusher, contouring on point, bronzer, false eyelashes flapping about in the breeze, mascara, winged eyeliner and eyebrows that were totes on fleek (I know…get me and my down with the kids lingo!) – the whole shebang!! They were flapping about (albeit gently) with the little hands close to their chests and their heads balanced on top of their long necks looking just like meerkats on the look out.
I cannot begin to tell you how tempted I was to do a Miranda-esque ‘fall’ creating a big wave that would engulf them. But I didn’t. I am not that cruel. But in my mind…Oh in my mind it was hilarious!
Just then I realised that something else in the pool wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was one of those moments where you can sense something but you haven’t fully noticed it …yet. As I scanned the hot tub edge dwellers the light bulb went on. Ah, eyebrows! So many of the women around the edge had big, dark, drawn on eyebrows! And once it was noticed it became so surreal! Like a secret club! By that point I felt it was time to move on.
And so I took my slightly cuddlier than it used to be body, wrapped up in its dignified surf leggings and loose fitting tankini top, I took my own eyebrows which my body had conveniently grown for me, on my steam treated face and walked confidently past these women. These women who when they stood up crossed their arms to cover their belly (if you’re uncomfortable wear something different), these women who must be wearing make endorsed by the Olympic synchronised swimming teams that did not run, melt or smudge in these watery, steamy conditions. These women who did not feel confident to visit the swimming pool with their friends/lovers and go make up free. These women who feel that they have to maintain perfection no matter what.
As I walked past them I felt a huge wave of happiness; of contentment. I have embraced my body post children. I dress how I want to, in a way that makes me feel comfortable. I am happy to go make up free. I am happy to make a complete, COMPLETE arse out of myself! This is what my children will remember when they are older. These precious memories of quality time we shared. I am so glad that I am who I am and the way I am. What a boring life the kids would have if I could never splash for fear of messing up my hair or makeup or heaven forbid, have a moment of madness!!
The Aloha Mummy
P.S. I cannot stress how practical and brilliant these surf leggings are! When bending down with Bubs in the toddler pool there is no worry about losing anything between your cheeks, when sitting down cross legged there is no fear of any sneaky hairs peeping out the gusset and therefore no need to retrieve or rearrange any part of the swimwear or your anatomy! Ladies…they are the way forward!