It so happened that Otter needed a new kiddie pool. After years of dedicated service, our ginormous plastic monstrosity, originally purchased to give our dog a place to cool off (he never even came near it), gave up the ghost.
It also just so happens that there is a birthday coming up, which means that if the girl wants a kiddie pool, a kiddie pool must be gotten. So off I went to one of the chains (which shall remain nameless) that I SHOULD be boycotting for one reason or another, to procure a plastic receptacle for my toddler to splash around in.
Fast forward to this afternoon, when, armed with the pool (which, it should be noted, came with a separate elephant shaped slide), a foot pump and some misguided optimism, I stepped into the 100 degree heat to blow this monstrosity up in time for my dear child to wake from her nap.
I investigated the box - it was covered with pictures of joyous children playing rambunctiously in what looked like an Olympic sized pool. Which alarmed me, being as I had nothing but a foot operated pump. But I took solace in the fact that it was highly unlikely that a lap pool actually fit into a 2 x 2 box I had in my hand. Filled with hope, I took out the plastic pool.
I decided to start small - with the decorative palm tree, which actually had nothing to do with the functionality of the pool, but looked manageable. And it was - minutes later, standing upright and perky, the palm promised great things. It lied.
Fast forward once again - an hour later, as I stood, sweating profusely while madly using alternate feet, then hands, trying to get a flaccid pile of plastic to resemble a pool. The elephant slide lay meekly on its side, resembling something we'd downed on safari and dragged home to display or (judging from its two-dimensionality) use as a rug. Reminding myself that I was getting a workout was of little consolation. Focusing on the joy this would bring my child was undercut by dripping sweat. And as I quietly muttered curses at the pool and all its plastic ancestors (along with a few choice words set aside for the foot pump) I questioned how important a kiddie pool would really be in the greater scheme of things. I mean, when she was 20 would SB still think back woefully to the time she woke up from her nap at age 2 and was confronted with a deflated, overheated plastic elephant?
But for better or for worse (depending on who you ask), I persevered. And when she did see it, and quickly thereafter was hopping around in it, it seemed silly to have even doubted.
A few weeks back, we found Otter pretending she's on the phone, deep in conversation as we walked in on her. "Buh-bye Jimmy," she quickly babbled upon seeing us.
Jimmy? Who is Jimmy? Ears perked up, we investigated further. Jimmy, it turns out, is the little boy from the park. What's this? Does Otter have a boyfriend? A paramour to whom she makes clandestine, early morning, pretend phone calls?
Bree took the news far better than I expected - no talk of guns or barbed-wire fences came up. How long this surprisingly blase attitude lasts remains to be seen.
In the meantime, we're suddenly aware that the little girl who had until very recently been a baby, has begun her secret, independent life.
"It sometimes happens, even in the best families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money." - Elinor Goulding Smith