Recently, I enrolled my son in an afternoon swim class which is not only closer to my house, but happens to costs less than half the price of where I used to take him. The day of our swim trial, I go on my bike to pick up my son early from school so we have plenty of time to get used to the new place. I put my son in his chair on my bike and try my best to spark his enthusiasm about how lucky we are to go swimming.
We arrive to the new place, and my son looks at me and says:
‘Dove siamo?’ And this means ‘where are we?’
And I say ‘at the swimming pool‘
He says ‘questo non è la piscina.’ which means ‘this is not the swimming pool’
Me: ‘This is the new pool !!’
Him: ‘Voglio andare al regular piscina.’ – ‘I want to go to the regular swimming pool’
Me: ‘This one is wayyy better than the regular one!!’
Him: ‘è bruttissimo qui.’ – ‘it’s ugly here’
I take my son out of his little chair that sits on the back of my bike and place him on the cement sidewalk behind me and say
‘Just wait you will have sooo much fun!’
We walk into the dark dreary reception area as I brightly explain to the receptionist that my son is here to try the swim course. She points us to where the changing rooms are and we set off down the aluminum staircase that heads further down below the earths surface. Once downstairs we set about looking for the children’s changing room. After opening every door I finally ask someone. Turns out there is no changing room for children so we change him into his swim trunks in the women’s changing room, and head towards the pool.
My son: ‘e propio brutto qui, lo sai mommy.’ – which means ‘it’s really ugly here you know?!’
Me: ‘that’s enough.’
We find the pool in the middle of the gym surrounded by glass that at one time was probably transparent, but now has a sort of permanent film that covers it making it impossible to properly see in or out. We open the door and go inside. There aren’t any other children nor any sign of the swim teacher. I look into the murky water of the pool and start to wonder if my son doesn’t have a point. That’s when the swim teacher appears from no where. He is about 2 meters in height (6ft 6) with a full head of shoulder length grey and white hair that is shooting out in every direction. He is wearing a beaten up robe and a pair of blue rubber slippers.
We exchange a few nicety’s as he tells me that Nicky is the only student so far, and without waiting for a response he takes off his robe, puts his hands on his hips and smiles down at us.
I look up at him and all I can think of is Sasquatch in a micro – speedo.
My son starts to cry. I try to calm him and he hides behind my legs holding on to one for dear life.
‘Scusami non ha mai fatto cosi’ I say to the hairiest man in the world. (which means, forgive me, he has never done this before’
‘non c’e problema, aspettiamo che si ambienta’ (which means no problem we’ll just wait until he gets used to me) and with that my son starts howling a howl so loud that even through the glass structure that separates the pool from the gym I am sure that every person inside can hear him.
I say my apologies to the swim teacher as I try to tear my howling 4-year-old off my leg. Once we are back in the changing room I see that the women’s aerobic class has just finished and the entire changing room is filled with naked women. I think my son is too busy crying to notice when all of sudden he says
‘mommy, guarda…tutti nudi!!’ and it is in this moment that I think my son has a point.. qui è bruttissimo.