I twist around, my neck straining, and staring back at me is blue synthetic material hugging my bottom and moulding round the outskirts. It's an ugly, bought on the way there, swimsuit from Sainsburys with tummy tuck and I look like I belong on a Saga cruise liner. This material definitely makes it look bigger than it is. It's just not my bottom. It's someone else's. That's it. A logical question merits a logical answer. It's not mine. I'm in a panic. Not because of my bottom, I'll worry about that another time, but because I've left them (the boys) under the shower and they better not have gone in yet. I can't run because that's not allowed and I hate being told off. So I sort of shuffle along at a quick pace, clenching my bottom at the same time, and half lunging over to hide my other parts. They're still there and I breathe, not too much mind, as I'm sucking my belly in too. We're nearly there.
'Can we go in?' Their happy faces look up as I ping the blue thing at the back and yank it up at the front. 'Yes.' I climb the steps into the cold, polluted water that stops unpleasantly at my thighs. I take the plunge and fall to my knees, ignoring the voices in my head calling out pee-pee everywhere, and happily walk around on my knees as other like-minded parents do. The water rests just under my shoulders and despite the freezing knee walking I'm doing, there's a moment where I think it's not that bad. I'm not that selfish, they'll remember I took them swimming and it was freezing, and they'll be good, do good; its all circular.
I am jolted out of my reasoning when one of them uses me as a springboard. All I can feel is feet pressing down on my hidden bits as he pushes himself off me, leaving me with a mouthful of chlorine as the splash hits. I'm the wall of the swimming pool to this little bloodsucker as he turns in delight to show off his attempt at underwater swimming. I'm now bruised. The chute.
'NOOOO!!!!!' I've just got myself under, I squirm.
We're back out, me shuffling behind, grabbing at my top, wrestling to tuck my bottom in. Skin, blue with cold, mascara rubbed, highlights tinged with a green reflection as peroxide meets chlorine. Run for cover, I scream inside, while shouting 'walk' loudly for the lifeguards to hear. My responsible parenting in full swing as I kangaroo past, contorting my tummy, thighs, bikini, and angling my bottom out of sight. We're sliding down the two-foot chute and I start to make all sorts of grunts to show them my happy, positive and fun-loving side. I'm faking and hating it all the way down. Each time the chute is repeated, I'm forced to take my body outside for a walk.
Next up is tig, you be the shark, Mummy!
I'm half way there in my blue rigout. More kneeling and avoiding all eye contact with the other adults, while apologising for the latest wave which hits. The boys yank at my belongings as flesh springs free and I quickly adjust myself once more.
'It's our band', sorry boys, as I point to the clock and happily reassure myself they can't tell the time. Really, they should by now, as I spring into the shower ready to half wash, half dry, and peel myself out of the elastic band holding it all together. Job done; mothering complete.