Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is there anything more exhausting than parenthood?

I'm sitting here, sore, somewhat hungry, still soggy and absolutely exhausted. It's Saturday just after noon and I feel like I've been going for a lifetime. I'm remembering the days when I might just be returning from brunch, ready to sleep the morning indulgence away, or even better, just waking up. Today I was up at around 7, got my two boys up, running and dressed, dragged my poor sick husband out of bed, and was out the door by 8:15 to take my oldest to his first swim lesson sans parents in the water.

It's cold, it's wet outside, fortunately no one is on the road yet, they're all still in bed, or having brunch, reading the paper with a coffee, or something far more civilized than running to a pool looking like you just fell out of the laundry hamper. It's just us parents on the road, shuttling our kids to swimming, hockey, indoor soccer, or some other type of lesson meant to enrich out little one's life. Why, do they insist on putting these things at such an ungodly hour? Who really wants a bunch of sleep deprived parents on the road on one of the few mornings where they might actually be able to sleep in til, you know...8am! It's a public safety issue people! I guess since it's just us out on the road, they don't really care, but one day you'll need to drag your sorry butts out of bed at this hour, and WHAMMO! My soccer mom Cute UV (think small SUV) will be up your Smart Car's tailpipe. Anyhow, enough bitterness on this point.

I schlep my kid into the pool changing room, he's turning 4. I reflect on the mad race I had to run to try and get a spot, when the city, who runs these programs in all it's wisdom sets the registration time at 7am in the morning (see a trend) where about 300,000 flood the call centre and website trying to get the coveted 9:15 swim spot. Late enough to sleep to 8am, early enough to get the lesson out of the way so you can continue on to playdates, birthday parties, playgrounds or more lessons, if you're particularly masochistic. I got the 8:45 class, egg on my face to all my friends who are laughing behind my back, even though one took pity on my panicked FB updates and tweets about how I'm not getting through. I'm still bitter about the time, I NEED that half hour! It's steamy and hot in there, way too hot for the hoodie I threw on in an attempt to hide the fact that I'm wearing a tank that has yogurt on it. My yoga pants are too long and are dragging on the wet floor. My son is thrilled, but trying to negotiate by any means to avoid the shower. I somehow get him wet, I also get my arm soaked and half my leg too.

We're finally out to the pool area, where it's just parents, kids and lifeguards. We go take our seats waiting for our class and I try to keep a 4 year old from exploding from excitement. We do take him swimming, we have a pool in fact, but it's been a solid month that he's been out of the water and he's losing his mind. By now, the water has seeped up from my dragging pant legs from my ankles to my knees, who needs to be dry right?

Finally it's time to escort my little deranged monkey...uh son towards the kiddie pool. His instructor couldn't be a day over 18, but it doesn't matter, he's thrilled. After 5 minutes, I watch as this poor lifeguard not only attempts from keeping 4 kids from drowning, but actually teaching something. It's like the water has ecstasy in it, the kids are literally bouncing off each other. Somehow, she manages not only to keep them all quite alive and well, but getting them to do their floating, jumping in, kicking and even getting them to put their faces in the water. Their WHOLE faces, something I couldn't accomplish in a summer's worth of bribing and pleading. Obviously there is something in the water to make the kids hyper, but very pliable. I must get some of that.

Thinking back, I think to myself, really, I could teach him all this, at my time and leisure, is it really worth dragging us both out for 1/2 hour of lessons? Shouldn't we be inside and warm, having pancakes, singing silly songs with daddy and his little brother? Can I keep my lower legs dry? But I found that I couldn't stop watching my little guy. The calls "Mommy! Can you see me?" "Mommy, watch this!" "Don't you think this is cool?"And seeing a smile that brings back those wonderful memories of smiles when he was 6 months old, of pure glee, not contaminated with anything like toys, food, his friends or wondering if he could doing something even BETTER. No, he was so proud of himself for getting into the pool without mom, but making sure she was close enough that he could demonstrate every new victory. I got to see him graduate into a new part of his life, where I don't always need to be holding his hand, and it's funny how his face reminds me of when he was very young. He's growing up at the speed of light, but I guess I finally had that moment where I truly felt that he will always be my baby.

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