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7 lessons moms learn the first time they take their kids to the pool

Summertime and the livin’ is… hot. Seriously, it’s hot, y’all. Have you been outside? I live in the South, and sometimes the only logical way to spend the day is swimming — and, well, that means loading up the kiddos and heading to the pool.

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Now, if you happen to have a pool at home, your first time taking your kids to it may vary slightly from those of us who have to pack our bags and head to a community pool. But in general, there are certain life lessons moms learn during their kids’ inaugural trip to the pool.

1. Never forget to check pockets

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Or little clenched fists, or really any way your child might sneak a foreign object into those telling crystalline waters. The first time we took my son to our local community pool, we didn’t realize he had squirreled away a handful of my husband’s Atomic Warheads candy. At some point in the swimming process, water seeped through their tiny plastic seals, causing a cloud of red to appear around our kid. It looked like a scene from Jaws. So, yeah. I’m not saying you should frisk your kid pre-pool, but… no wait, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

2. There will be poop

Amy Schumer
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Speaking of foreign objects, here’s the gross but all too real truth about public pools: There’s poop in ’em. Sometimes you may not see it, as it will be in the form of microscopic fecal matter (ew, I know). Other times, well, let’s just say you should always exercise caution when approaching UFOs — unidentified floating objects.

3. Swimmer’s ear has more than one meaning

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Two things: No. 1, no matter how much prep work you put into trying to ensure your kid doesn’t wind up with half the pool in his ear canal, somehow you’ll still end up putting treatment drops into their waterlogged ears later. And no. 2, selective hearing is in full force at the pool, especially when it comes to excitable first-timers. No amount of loudly instructing your kid (read: shouting while trying to not look like that mom) to not run will produce the desired result.

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4. There is no such thing as relaxation

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No lying idly in a lounge chair for you, Mama — you’ll be far too busy pacing the pool to keep an eye on your kid as well as periodically scanning the water to ensure the kid head count hasn’t changed. If you’re in the pool, you’ll still be on active duty: Think Marco Polo or tossing those gosh darn diving rings about a million times while trying to figure out a discreet way to accidentally “lose” them.

5. You will never have everything you need, despite having everything you need

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Going to the pool these days essentially requires a forklift, a moving van and an assembly line to cart all the stuff you couldn’t possibly leave behind on your child’s first pool trip. I was quite possibly the worst about this. I think I had no fewer than three bags stuffed to the brim when we took our kids for their first pool trip. Goggles, floaties, swim diapers, toys, that little sling thing with a cutesy canopy that lets them cruise around semi-independently, a first aid kit… we brought the whole kit and caboodle.

6. It will be terrifying

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Your kid’s newfound fearlessness will only further compound your excessive fears. It’s like Murphy’s Law of Kids Swimming or Einstein’s Theory of Swimming Pool Relativity. They will want to dive floaties-free into the deep end, and you’ll want to dive headfirst into a bottle of wine when you get home. J/k, j/k. Unless you agree, in which case, pour me a glass, sistah!

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7. There’s no such thing as “just this once”

Tina Fey
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Taking your kid to the swimming pool for the first time is like opening a can of Pringles. You know the shtick… once you pop, you can’t stop. Real talk? As terrifying and exhausting as the entire experience may be when you’re in the midst of it, it will also be a memory you wouldn’t trade for the world. Yes, even that bout with the Atomic Warheads. And it’s a good thing, since your kids will want to make trips to the pool a performance you repeat — oh, you know — every single day during the summer.

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