Your first swimming trip is meant to be a landmark family day.
But not like this.
We arrived 40 minutes early because I was anxious about getting them changed. When it comes to getting them dressed I’m still slower than a sloth deciding what outfit to wear to the big sloth school reunion. We took a twin each and went our separate ways.
I was first in the changing room so grabbed the best spec and got to it. My twin for the day was in a jovial mood so we got changed pretty quickly as the other dads and babies started to arrive and pile in.
It was soon obvious that this was a very dad-heavy (and indeed, heavy-dad) activity, taking place at the weekend.
The changing room was tiny and I saw someone I knew so we exchanged pleasantries as we removed our clothes in front of each other, ensuring our naked bodies didn’t accidentally touch. It was just as awkward as it sounds.
If felt good to walk to the pool carrying my son. I’m a good old fashioned dad, I thought to myself. Ready to teach, nurture and be the manly role-model that my boys need.
I dipped my foot into the water and made a noise so high pitched only dogs could hear. Fuck me, it was cold. I was expecting it to be like a warm bath but it was icy, like the stare of a rush hour commuter when you’ve nabbed the last train seat. I wasn’t sure this was good and proper but all the other parents and kids were already in there so I continued to submerge myself in the water.
Slowly, like a Bond girl in reverse but bald and with man-tits.
We all walked round in a circle holding our babies while the instructor told us what to do. The whole scene felt vaguely cult-ish but we soon got into our stride.
The first big test came when we were told to ‘dunk’ our baby completely under the water. I wasn’t sure I liked the use of the word ‘dunk’ - this woman seemed to be treating our offspring like biscuits. Other than the obvious similarities (if you have one you’ll want more & six is just stupid) I couldn’t quite make sense of it.
She also made it very clear that if your baby was hot off the press (or ‘newborn’ as the experts say) then you really shouldn’t be dunking at this stage. This simple instruction was too much for one hapless dad to compute and he instantly waterboarded his little bundle of joy deep down into the water, much to the abject horror of his wife at poolside. The baby was fine but I bet their drive home wasn’t - her reaction was frostier than the water.
Me and a few of the other dads exchanged smug glances with a subtext of, Look at that guy, we’re not like him. We’re in control. We’re great.
Maybe it was this smugness that caused fate to turn around, lace up her steel-capped boots and kick me square in the bollocks. Either way, in the next twenty seconds I learned an important life lesson:
When taking twins swimming you must ALWAYS select the one that’s already had a massive dump.
What happened next has changed me considerably. As a dad and as a man.
It happened so suddenly. We were having a lovely time. I saw a few bubbles but there were bubbles everywhere. There’s always bubbles in water, right?
Then I saw a small piece of it. Then another. They were the exact size and shape as a Wispa Duo.
My brain told me to quickly grab and hide them somewhere. My hand told my brain to fuck off – where the hell could I hide a pair of floating turds? If anyone had spotted me ramming a piece of poo into my trunks they’d have quite rightly considered me an international-level lunatic.
For about five seconds we just carried on moving round the pool as if nothing had happened. Then a load more came out. It looked like a squid had released its ink.
The mum behind me very kindly just said ‘ooh’ and tried to step out of the way, which is impossible in water. The dirty floaters moved inexorably towards her, as if in slow motion. Her baby reached out to grab one which was the point I leapt into action, handing my twin to my wife and striding over to the poo-zone as quick as I could.
“Sorry, everyone” I shouted, quickly realizing this sounded like a confession. It also drew everyone’s attention to the foul scene that was unfolding in the pool beside them.
I reached the anal flotilla and tried to form a safe area around it with my arms.
Turning back to face the circle I discovered they weren’t a circle anymore, just a disparate group of disgusted people gathered at the farthest corner of the pool, holding their babies with such fear you’d think I was about to throw a plugged-in toaster into the water.
“He normally shits first thing in the morning!” I continued, not grasping the fact that I was now polluting their children’s ears as well as the pool with this crowbarred blame-shift onto my son.
I glanced at my son. This made the crowd of traumatized bathers also look over in unison, looking like they were in the side seats at Wimbledon. My wife was holding my son at a safe distance with his back to the crowd. As they looked over he slowly turned his head around like an incontinent horror villain.
And he laughed in their faces.
They were utterly appalled and please forgive my lack of imagination at this juncture but there is simply no analogy in the English language that will do this justice - they literally looked like someone had shat in the pool and was laughing at them.
All four of us got out, dejected and feeling like we’d been sent to the sin-bin. The clean-up operation wasn’t pretty but we all got dressed and met up back in the car.
Not a word was uttered.
I put the keys in the ignition and looked at my wife. We stared for a moment.
And then we laughed.
And we continued to laugh until it hurt.
Then we decided we would never go back there again.
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