Float Couture

August 3, 2011

So thank goodness for the pool right? The kids need to burn off some energy and run around but regular playground slides and swings heat up faster than a pancake griddle. I don't want to witness a spontaneous combustion on the monkey bars. But enough with the Float Couture already.

With Teen Spirit, we were waitlisted at the local community pools so a refreshing dip was rare and a real treat. No fuss, no muss -- he threw on a pair of trunks and threw himself into a a spazzy big boy belly flop into the water. La Principessa loves flopping and splashing just as much but as with most things, any experience with her turns into a royal production. Literally. I'm like the Lady in Wading, jumping to fill her every aquativ fashion need before we ever submerge. First, there's the stylist confab --- suiting her up in her favorite halter topped sort-of-tankini and matching her accessories, whether it's crocs, cover-up or cap. No wonder this job was so hard to get --- I've had more practice than a geisha in training. You need an advanced degree in origami to perfect the knot on that swimsuit halter top and get those matching ponytail baubles to her exact imperial specifications.

We then move on to the sunscreen spa treatments. While I'm bent forward slathering her calves, she pulls a between-the-legs maneuver to schmear a fistful of cream across my face. Great, now that countenance is suitably chalky white, we can move to the kabuki theater part of our program: selecting her YMCA-issue life jacket. By this point in the season, they're all looking like something that might wash up on Gilligan's Island. But to her they are a style staple. Necessary for her to greet the commoners. The bottoms of my feet sizzle on the pool deck as she examines each one, taps a finger to her chin, looks at a few more -- IDENTICAL ones – holds them outstretched, places them against her and cocking her head as if divining the spirits from an ancient ceremonial kimono. I mince over to dip my smouldering feet in the pool when I hear her hectoring me back to my station. She stands with her arms outstretched, TSA-inspection style, so I can wrap and zip her in with the precision of a tea ceremony. As she tells me repeatedly to hurry.

We then enter the water where I am told to hold her hand to help keep her afloat as she pretends to swim with abandon. But I also am told to stand at least a foot away from her and avert my head. In other words, I should pretend to be invisible. Like some sort of lackey to the Empress, backing out of the room and avoiding all eye contact with Her Chrysanthemum Magnificence or whatever it is I'm supposed to call her this week. Just as well --- there's still sunscreen leaking out my tear ducts and it's blurring my vision anyway.

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So thank goodness for the pool right? The kids need to burn off some energy and run...