The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and you think it’s a really great idea to buy the little darlings a paddling pool. After all, as the picture on the box shows, it can only enhance your family life. Frankly, if the picture on the box is anything to go by, you would be parentally negligent not to buy them a paddling pool. The little darlings will happily play in the water while you sit nearby, on guard of course, but supping vino and catching up on that novel you have been meaning to read for the last year or so. What better way to pass a sunny family day.
Parents, I am afraid I need to break it to you. It is all a lie. A wicked, sales generating lie. I will tell you the truth about the paddling pool (I do not sell paddling pools, obvs.).
- It doesn’t matter what time you fill the pool. This is England people. The water in any decently sized paddling pool will never warm up. Not even in August. It will always be cold enough to pose a risk to a brass monkey.
- You will not actually get any peace at all. You will spend at least half an hour digging out last years now too small swim stuff and squeezing the little darlings into them, all the time telling them to stop making such a fuss, of course it still fits. (*Mental note, trip to supermarket for new swim stuff). By the time you have wrestled them all into the ill fitting lycra, they will be crying as they are tired, hot and hungry. Cue pom bears and squash.
- Now you have reached the water entry stage. Do not pour the chilled wine parents. It is simply not going to pan out as you hope. Put the novel away.
- The little darlings will launch themselves into the ice cold water. They will giggle and shriek with delight, and you may think my warnings are ill conceived. They aren’t, I promise. Within 5 minutes some smart arsed little darling will start kicking water at the others. This will result in floods of tears and calls for towels.
- Having dried the affected faces and yelled at the little darling responsible not to do it again, you can settle back down in your chair.
- The picture on the paddling pool box shows crystal clear water. Get real people. It has been 10 minutes. One of the little darlings will have done at least a sneaky wee in the pool.
- You should be thankful for the ones that wee in the pool.The ones that insist that you accompany their dripping little bodies to the loo, turning your kitchen floor into a lethally slippery path of doom are far worse. I am not even going to get into the wet lycra wrestle that’s required to allow them to use the loo.
- As a result of number 1 (climate conditions), within minutes, the little darlings will be shivering uncontrollably. Upon questioning, they will deny and feeling of cold (despite their inability to speak properly due to the fact they are shivering so hard). At some point one of the little darlings will give in and request to be dried and changed. Just as you have finished the process, they will see the others in the pool and change their minds. You will have to undress them, and redress them in their wet swimming gear (that will be another wrestle with wet lycra then).
- When you finally order the little darlings out for fear of hypothermia, you can expect around 30 minutes of screaming. Your dry sun-warmed skin can expect to be assaulted by drips and splashes from sopping lycra as you peel it from ice cold screaming flesh.
- Finally, the little darlings are in bed. Where you might normally sit down in relief with a glass of vino, you instead must now go and empty the pool. Aside from the safety risk posed by water in the garden, you should know that the picture on the box is frankly complete shit. What the pool will actually look like after 5 minutes of use, is this:
(PS. If you have a fitbit, and have been wearing it throughout the paddling pool experience, it may by now have exploded/switched itself off for preservation. No human is expected to endure this.)