When mummy tells you we are taking baby and niece swimming, a sudden sense of worry...no hang on a minute, a sense of, "I don't even like swimming; I'm afraid of my head being submerged under a pool of urine infested water", follows.
Daddy has taken baby swimming before and understands the importance of introducing small humans to water at an early stage, not to mention the fantastic 1-on-1 bonding cemented between baby and parent in the pool.
It comes at a cost. An unequal distribution of time actually spent in the pool versus the time it takes fanny-arsing around prior to, and after the swim.
As you can probably gather daddy is not a lover of swimming - he can swim but does not find it enjoying in the slightest. When in Primary School, Daddy used to pretend to forget his swimming kit in order for him to miss a lesson. He still has that attitude.
Let me explain briefly the fanny-arsing around which takes place throughout a swimming trip:
I've mentioned the horrific amount of time it takes for parents and baby to get ready in a previous post -- refresh yourself with that. It takes 90 minutes to get ready. Remember? Add this to the agenda.
You drive to pick up niece, then proceed to drive to the leisure centre. Once inside the leisure centre you queue for 15 minutes among other eager, loud, small humans with their adult companions. You get your wrist band and make your way toward the over-crowded changing areas.
Baby is changed with the usual kerfuffle and looks adorable; mummy is changed, as is daddy -- albeit in a 2003 pair of swimming shorts. All possessions are placed in to a ridiculous amount of swim bags. Niece changes herself in her own cubicle and is anticipating a brilliant time. Daddy picks baby up, and then somehow manages to scoop up the four swim bags with his remaining arm. Mummy escorts daddy, niece, baby and bags towards the locker area. Next task is to store the four bags inside the lockers. The lockers are not wide enough for mummy's hideous pink bag -- daddy squeezes it in aggressively as patience is running low -- as is daddy's arm strength. Other bags are placed on top of pink bag. "Be careful with my bags" Mummy fumes. "There are only towels and clothes inside, nothing will break, dear". Daddy responds.
"Have you got a pound"? Daddy asks. Mummy responds typically helpfully, "I don't know, check my purse". "Where's your purse"? Daddy begins to lose patience. "In the pink bag". Out comes the pink bag from the locker. Daddy hints for mummy to search for the pound whilst his arms are about to fall from his torso. Remember baby is still in his other arm.
A pound is found. Pink bag is placed back in to locker hostilely. Pound is inserted in to locker. Locker does not work. Lockers are from the 1970's.
Bags are placed in to alternative locker in same manor. Locker does not work. Baby wonders what the hell is happening and whether daddy's arm is suitable for holding her.
This goes on for at least 6 minutes. Daddy's arms are hanging on by a single nerve ending. Niece watching on, eagerly wanting to get in to the pool.
Bags now inside lockers securely.
Next task is to put the frustrating locker-key-band-thing around daddy's wrist whilst holding a baby. This requires patience, persistence, concentration and an awful lot of will-power. After four attempts at popping the buckle through the hole, it is secure and you all make your way in to the swimming pool.
It's colder than the South Pole.
You stay there for 33 minutes.
You exit the pool with baby whilst mummy stays in pool with niece. "I'll meet you in a bit". Mummy tells daddy. Daddy proceeds to the locker area to get bags. He scoops up the bags with his severely damaged left arm with baby hanging on for dear life on his right arm.
Daddy gets baby and himself changed. This takes 20 minutes and the usual kerfuffle surrounding baby changes. Daddy makes his way (with bags and baby) to the pool area to search for mummy and niece. He can't find them. He is lost; his arms are on their last few minutes of attachment and he looks like a tramp who has just turned up at a swimming pool with four bags, a baby, scruffy hair and a confused face.
Mummy is found after a call-out to RAF Search And Rescue.
They get changed.
We drive niece back home to her parents.
Time spent swimming: 33 minutes
Time spent fanny-arsing around: It feels like a week.