Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mortification, Thy Name is Preschool Swim Class

Zane and I are taking swimming lessons at a local recreation center. Or rather, I am now the parenting part of a lean mean swimming pair that can’t be stopped. (I just adore hyperbole and braggadocio.)

Anyway, Zane adores swimming lessons. He doesn’t really care to do the activities they suggest or sing the songs they’d like him to sing, but he loves going down the gigantic slide at the end of each class, and really, since he’s getting more and more comfortable in the water, I got no complaints.

But much like what always happen when I become involved in some parent-child public activity, I realized – even before the first class began - that I didn’t get the memo. (Or maybe it’s just a page in that handbook again).

What I am referring to is the memo that says that mothers of young children should wear a swimsuit with a cute skirt or shorts on the bottom. Apparently, NO mothers wear a one piece Speedo, and they certainly don’t wear a bikini with cherries on it. (Lucky for me I picked the Speedo option for the first class. I’m not sure they would have allowed me back if I’d have walked in with the cherries on. It’s just not done).

But I didn’t get the memo. And here’s the thing: I really wished that I had. Those skirted/shorted bottoms are genius! They are cute and flirty – and they smooth over a little extra junk in the trunk while flattering legs that just don’t look as long as they used to. Brilliant!

I became determined to have one.

Humiliation, the First
When making the decision to buy a swimsuit, one should absolutely factor in the humiliation involved in the actual swimsuit shopping. Since I purchased my last suit online, I had forgotten the painful drama inherent in taking off your clothes and standing under the glare of fluorescent lights as you view your body at all angles with only a small piece of fabric for covering and protection.

And, yes, I would like to be beyond the body-hating stuff – and most days I truly am. But there is something about trying on 27 swimsuits with the sides of your underwear rolled up and the ashiness of winter skin glaring back at you, that will make even the most self-confident of us shudder just a little bit.

But, finally, I decided on this suit and this skirt.

(For purposes of full disclosure, I don’t resemble either of the women featured in the pictures. Not one bit. And the suit is actually much more turquoise than green in real life, but you get the idea).

Humiliation, the Second
I have a tendency to overestimate my size, and Lupe, the helpful sales associate at evil swimwear shop, was no help with this. Neither, come to think of it, was my sweet partner who was also there. Both of them – either through active complicity or passive omission - let me buy a bathing suit that was clearly too big!

And I know Lupe knew it was too big because she also sold me some “swimsuit cleanser” that would make sure the suit didn’t stretch. And before you go thinking that perhaps this should have tipped me off, I thought she was being helpful and trying to extend the life of my suit.

I am a dolt.

But of course, I didn’t realize that the suit was too big until I stepped into the water and the skirt fell down around my knees. My previous assertion that the suit was a little “roomy” was quickly dispelled as I spent the rest of the class making sure the skirt and accompanying bottoms stayed where they were supposed to and that no one got an unexpected flash of the lady bits.

Humiliation, the Third
So I’ve got a plan. The bottoms of the suit and skirt are a little large, no big deal. That can be remedied by taking in a couple of seams. My mom just bought a new sewing machine that does all sort of fancy two-step stitching – this is not a problem. We’ll have it fixed up by next class.

And that’s when I notice that my cute little halter top has come undone – when I see one of the stings floating in the water in front of me. And I look down and realize that one of my girls is floating free in the water with the string. And I got no idea how long it’s been that way.

All I know is that the male instructor looks away quickly with embarrassment and a dad in the class gives me an “I’m so sorry I had to see that” sympathetic smile.

So that’s how swim lessons are going. I would like to say that my mortification is complete. That I have now sunk to the lowest depths of humiliation that one mama can go to in a preschool swim class, but there are three more weeks of class, and I have no idea what’s around the corner.


SRH said...

In my defense, helping my wife determine her swimsuit without water around to emmerse herself in is not an easy task. The suit fit, until it got wet. How was I to know? I just wear soccer shorts as a "swim suit." If they fit on land, they fit in the water. This whole women's fashion is difficult enough, why add water?

Mom said...

Just wait until Little Man pulls your bottoms down to save himself!

I would have loved to see the look on your face.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the horror. I've had my bikini top completely fall off at a water park before, so I feel your pain. As a matter of fact, I grew up with a family that spend every weekend at a lake with a speedboat. I've had my bottoms fall completely off while waterskiing too (and we had to actually turn the boat around to find them!). So, yes I feel your pain! You'd think they'd do something about that issue when they make bathing suits. Or put a tag on it saying that it might happen. Like McDonalds puts a warning on their coffee lids that the contains may be hot (DUHHHH!).

Tree Monkey

Nadolny said...

bikini skirts. Brilliant!

lsig said...

My bikini top fell down in front of ksig's mom's then-husband once. It was not great. I mean, I have nothing to be ashamed of in the hoots department, but still...

Zany Mama said...

That's would be a slightly good point - except with my skirt around my knees - I don't want to hear any of your excuses.

Call it capricious whim. Call it wifely perogative. You aren't off the hook.

Remember, he did that once already at the library story hour.

Tree Monkey-
Your pain does, indeed, make me feel better. Thanks for sharing!


I'm sure your hoots could stand up against anyone's; however, aren't you still kind of glad that the marriage eneded so that you don't have to face that guy at every Thanksgiving?

I'm just saying.

Kristi said...

I have a great pool/nudity story for you:

Last summer we did the lessons thing at our local gym club. The girls and I would go change immedietly after lessons as fast as we could. Why so fast? Because the MOST OBESE ELDERLY LADY OF ALL TIME LOVED MAKING CONVERSATION WITH US COMPLETELY NAKED!!!!!!! Soooooooo naked. This was the first adult naked body my kids ever saw. The great big old lady who asked about their ages before she put her panties on.

SO, needless to say, the five year old was greatly traumatized. So to cheer her up I made up the following joke:

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Lady who?
Lady needs to get her clothes on.

We still laugh about that one.

belsum said...

I'm gonna have to disagree on the swim skirts issue. Maybe I just haven't seen a cute one but the moms in Kirk's swim class this summer were not flattered by that choice of swimwear. I do admit that I got a lot of, um, looks by being in a tasteful black bikini. I'm hardly svelt anymore but...I don't care.