Thursday, 3 April 2008

Duty done

Thank God. Tiger, Squirrel and Shark have reached the age of eight, as of February. This means I am no longer forced to get in the swimming pool.

I have suffered these watery lessons for years. Private lessons and - the horror - leisure swim, have been the only way outside the comfort zones of school swims and understanding clubs, that I could get my three noisy unschooled kids in the pool together. Home education requires self-sacrifice indeed.

But with the ticking of the clock on the midnight hour, 24 February, Tiger, Squirrel and Shark were deemed by the local council to be sensible and able enough to swim without an adult in close attendance. And hopefully too without an ambulance or another letter of apology to the swimming pool.

In anticipation of the great-8 event, last September I cancelled the swimming lessons. In December I boldly put myself forward and promised, 'I am never going swimming ever again'. Come February Grit whoops for joy and in March we fanfare the proud event by invading John Lewis to buy swim costumes. Then off we go swimming. And Grit does not get in.

Now, I can sit in the viewing area. The first time I do that, I want to jump up and down with happiness, like I knew how to play football and may have scored a goal, or learned how to fly and saved the world. I have done it. Ordeal by public chlorine. Four years worth. I should get a tattoo, get drunk, be rubber-stamped from the council, swear in a public ceremony, mark this rite of passage with howls and whoops, dance naked round the pool, anything, watching the three of them, Tiger, Squirrel and Shark, clamber into the pool and shove each other about and know that I do not need to be there.

I sit smug, watching Tiger, Squirrel and Shark splash each other, pretend to find pearls and chase dolphins. At four o'clock, the swimming club comes in, with mummies who have schooled duties, and who tell their Justines and Damiens to swim 25 metres for Level 2 or else. I sit there free and pleased with myself and consider my duty done. Unlike the swimming club mummies, I have my Home Ed Duty Swim Award.

And then Tiger comes in her pink sequined costume with goggles that need adult wisdom and a quick repair. She looks at me with big reproachful eyes and whispers 'I like it when you come in. You do good twirls. It is more fun. Please mummy, next time will you get in?'

Fun? Oh dear. Now here's a new dilemma.


Brad said...

You make me smile with every post - Thanks Love

Kelly Jene said...

Congratulations mummy Grit! You did it!

But that little face must have melted a piece of your heart. Just a little?

the mother of this lot said...

Oh, Grit, this is a tough one. Where you went wrong was getting in the water in the first place. If you had made this a 'Category Dig' duty, you wouldn't be in this position now.

Still, that's no help when faced with big reproachful eyes, is it?

Grit said...

hi brad, i'm glad!

well kelly jean, it's that little face and those big eyes that got me into this mess in the first place. sadly, i can deny the child nothing, but don't tell her that!

i agree motl. unfortunately, i have not made many 'category Dig' duties. i jolly well wish i had had your wisdoms some years ago, though.

Casdok said...

They grow up so fast! Its great to watch but also great to join in the fun!

Mean Mom said...

Not being a fan of swimming pools, myself, I can understand how you felt! Oh, dear, now you have to go back in again!

I would like to invite you to a tea party at my place to pick up an award. Hope you can make it.

The Fixer said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Come again soon!


Grit said...

hi casdok! 'great' isn't a word i'd ordinarily use about the public swimming pool, but for you, i'll try.

be right over, mean mom!

no problem fixer, please keep posting!