How to Exercise

Everyone needs exercise, right? I know I do. I feel better when I move my body. But how on earth do you fit it in? I have gone on about this at length. Maybe it’s just that I don’t prioritize. After all, I could be exercising right now, right? But am I? No, I am sitting at a computer, writing about it.

I need there to be two more hours in every day. That’s all. Simple. Someone make this happen.

Anyway, we are on day five of single parenting. Days one and two were pretty good because there was Halloween and my parents were around and there was a lot of coffee and sunshine. Yesterday was good too, as I mentioned, but day three, Monday, was pretty awful because I had no plan. I had no plan for what to do with the kids in the morning and they got up really early so there was a lot of morning and no plan. That’s bad math. Also it rained.

I decided today we would go to the swimming pool.

The swimming pool is two blocks away. I have never by myself taken both children to the pool because neither of them can swim so I have to pay very close attention to them in the pool (it is a 4 foot deep kiddie pool so Trombone walks around in it) and wouldn’t be able to stare at the people on exercise bikes and treadmills like I like to do. But it is cold outside and the children need exercise, more exercise than your average golden retriever / border collie cross, so I decided we would go to the swimming pool. Now, since I am immobilized from exertion, here is my Take Two Kids to the Pool Exercise Regime.

Warm Up

Pack the bag. (10 minutes)

You find towels and fold them and stuff them in the backpack and then the baby takes them out. Underwear goes in. Underwear comes out. Repeat.

Dress the children for outside. (15 minutes)

This includes the Bathroom Discussion (do I have to go / is there a bathroom at the pool / can I pee in the pool / can you put some “smell” in the bathroom / no I’m not done yet / no I haven’t washed my hands yet / now I’m throwing a fit about you rushing me STOP RUSHING ME) and the baby putting on his brother’s boots and then losing them under the couch and then dumping the cat’s water all over the floor.

Walk to the pool. (5 minutes)

Get suits on. (10 minutes)

Yours is already on because you put it on at the house while the children were distracted by putting the duck puppet in the potty. Older child can take off his own clothes and put on trunks. Younger child is in swim diaper but resists standing on cold change room floor, so hops about like a possessed thing and tries to get out the door, which you have locked.

You have locked it, right?

While you check lock, older child is turning on the shower even though he hates showers because they get his hair wet. His hair gets wet and he freaks out. Younger child scurries over to see what’s happening, also gets wet, starts screaming then slips on the floor.

Stuff clothes in backpack, jackets and shoes in the buggy, unlock door, carry screaming, wet children to pool while pushing buggy with usefully protruding belly.

Now it’s time to start that workout!

Get in the pool! (45 minutes)

Carry younger child all over the pool. Jump him up and down in the water so he will stop putting his hand down your suit and grabbing your breast. Float him on his tummy. Seat him on the step so he can play with the many, many toys, then scoop him up quickly as he tries to walk away and gets a lungful.

Give older child piggyback ride. Play shark. Carry one child under each arm and run from one end of the pool to the other. Smile at old men who are watching from nearby hot tub. Sit on pool floor and balance younger child on your lap. Spend three minutes underwater while older child tries to climb on your lap too. Younger child is climbing out of the pool, pull him back. Line up both children at the pool’s edge and make them jump for five minutes while you shake water out of your ears. Stare longingly at women with very small babies who are just sitting there, having conversations with each other while the babies drool.

Get out of the pool! (10 minutes)

Break the bad new to the older child about leaving the pool, while holding fast to younger child who is, at that very moment, trying to get out of the pool and has forgotten he does not know how to swim. Give older child five minute warning. Take younger child out at one end of the pool while older child insists on climbing out at the other end. Wrap self and younger child in towels. Make menacing faces at older child who has decided to go to the other end of the facility to look at the green slide because Daddy always lets him look at the green slide. Run after him but not really running because no running poolside. Pray he does not fall in the deep end or the hot tub. Ignore that he is wailing while you drag him back to the change room.

Cool down

Get dried off and dressed. (15 minutes)

Dress self first. Remove younger child from the bench where he is standing, reaching for the lock on the changeroom door. Attempt to apply diaper to younger child while he refuses to lie down. Say, loudly, “What the hell is your problem” and then remember there are other people in the changeroom. Tell older child you will get a snack when you get outside. Explain, at length, what each of the words in that sentence means. Feel prepared to deliver a thesis defense in the area of “You Will Get a Snack When We Get Outside.”

Use the bathroom. (10 minutes)

Because swimming makes you have to pee. Both children and the buggy in the big bathroom. Button that opens the door is low enough for younger child to press. Take him in the stall. He hands you several shredded pieces of toilet paper. Make older child pee too. Everyone washes hands.

Walk home. (30 minutes if you go via the grocery store and then stop in the playground so the children can eat wood chips and spin on the spinny thing).

Have a snack – have a drink – have half a bag of Halloween candy – you’ve earned it!

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