Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cat In Water

One of Elijah’s pals had a birthday party at the YMCA pool last weekend.  The invitation specifically said, “We encourage any parents who want to suit up and join us in the pool.”

I read it as, “Hey Rick.  Don’t be a baby and get in the pool.  No one will notice your weird shoulder hair.”

But the real reason I decided to get in the water was Luca.  He was invited along with Eli and, well, water and Luca don’t mix.  This is a kid who hates getting his hair washed.  The mere idea of water getting in his eyes fills him with terror.  And yet, he wanted to attend the pool party.  With water.

Before we stepped out of the locker room, I made sure my freshly shaved shoulders were looking good and I did a few push ups to bulge out my biceps.  A tip I learned from 80’s Latin rap artist Rico Suave.

The pool was filled to the brim with screaming 6 year olds and, inexplicably, a giant inflatable bug.  As I sucked my gut in and walked by the moms Luca began to scream, “I don’t want to go in the water!  I don’t want to go in the water!”

“What part of ‘Pool Party’ didn’t you understand?  This is the gig, man.  We’re going in because I can’t hold my stomach in any longer.”

I immediately lost track of Eli, who was swallowed in the mass of kid limbs.  I prayed a little prayer that the lifeguards would watch over my son with no fear and concentrated on my little cat in water.

Luca dug his fingers into my neck, closing off my airway and dug his little feet talons into my love handles.  He screamed into my ear until I threatened to make him go sit with the moms if he didn’t calm down.

Eventually, Luca did calm down and actually began to enjoy himself.  I held him and he splashed and yelled at the Eli friends he knew the names of.  As we neared the giant inflatable bug, Luca stiffened.  No, he did not want to sit on it.  Or touch it.  Or look at it.

But everyone else did. 

I had a steady stream of snot nosed 6 year olds begging me to lift them on top of the bug.  So I’d have to hold Luca in one hand, while hoisting the little boy or girl with my free hand.  Making sure any and all touching was a good and legal touch and did not involve any, as Eli calls them, “front or back privates.” 

Luca would scream and dig in, my head would briefly dip under the surface and I’d wonder what my obituary would say.  “He died how he lived: avoiding front and back privates.”

Thankfully, the whistle blew after an hour and we adjourned to the party room for cake and an epic balloon fight.  I was exhausted and managed to blurt out to a YMCA employee, “Swim…lesson…sign…up…form…please.” 

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