George isn’t the best swimmer. He can dog paddle and stuff, but he still needs a lesson or two. We keep an extra eye on him. Yesterday we decided to try out a different pool. George wanted to go off the diving board, but was too afraid to do it without his noodle. He waited in line, got up there, and the lifeguard told him no. I was close enough to watch, but far enough away that I couldn’t hear anything. I saw George pull out some fast tears and wipe at his eyes. He said something to the lifeguard about not wanting to go without it. Then, like something snapped, he spun around, tossed the noodle off the end of the diving board and ran off the end into the water before anyone could say anything to him. Honey went over to get after George and apologize to the lifeguard.
George then moved to the slide. He’d already been down it about 10 times. Luckily, the pool depth at the bottom was shallow enough for him. However, I looked up to see him stomping away from the slide. He’s crying, wiping his eyes, lifting his swim shirt to wipe his face off. And best of all, he’s muttering to himself. I’m thinking, ‘Oh great. Now what?’
Me: “What’s the problem now?”
George: (still crying) “They won’t let me go off the diving board and they won’t let me go down the slide!”
Me: “They won’t let you go down the slide?? Why??”
George: “Because of my shirt.”
Me: “Well then…take your shirt off.”
George: (crying immediately ceases and he looks at me with wide eyes) “Won’t chlorine kill you?”
Me: (trying not to laugh) “George……….it’s all over your arms and your legs. It’s not going to kill you.”
George: “But won’t it burn me?”
Me: “No, George. It won’t.”
George: (bursting into a fresh set of tears) “Link is always lying to me!!!!”
Me: (realizing in it’s pure form, chlorine probably would burn you) “If it were sitting here all by itself and you touched it or something, it probably would hurt your skin. But they take a teeny bit of chlorine and put it in all of this water and it won’t hurt you. Okay?”
Me: “Take off your dang shirt and go down the slide.”
George bravely peeled the shirt off and went down the slide. At the bottom, he stood up, shot both fists into the air in a big ‘y’ and yelled, “Woooohooooooooooo!!!!”
How did I not know that every time we went to the pool, my kid thought the chlorine was going to kill him? He never acted afraid. I guess he thought his swim shirt would save him. The liberation on his face after that slide though, was fantastic.