At Random

Ten ideas for frittering away a half hour poolside while your kid refuses to partake in her swim lesson for which you just paid a lot of money

1. Chat with another mom who is pep-talking you and your child into believing that this whole venture is worthwhile and that one of her kids also refused swim lessons in the early days. Gaze across the pool and witness her children dunking their heads under water not 100 feet from you. Don’t believe her.

2. Stare longingly at the parents of children who seem to actually enjoy being in the pool with seventy-billion other kids.

3. Cry.

4. Run your hand up and down your shin stubble, cursing yourself for forgetting to shave.

5. Convince your other child--the one not signed up for lessons because he proved last summer that paling around in the pool with a couple high school swim teachers was not going to happen--to encourage your younger child to jump in and partake.

6. Wave a stick of bubblegum temptingly before your younger child’s teary eyes in a shallow stab at bribery.

7. Spend the entire thirty-minute lesson crouched next to your sullen child trying to convince her that learning to swim is good! And fun! And won’t she be proud of herself! When this fails to impress, switch tacks to reverse psychology and tease her that she is not allowed, under any circumstance, to immerse herself in that pool. She calls you on it. ‘Fess up that you are, indeed, joking. Ask her if she’d like to dip just one toe in the water. When she refuses, offer her an entire bag of Skittles if she’ll at least sit on the top step, thereby submerging the bottom half of her body and making you feel like a semi-fit parent.

8. Offer McDonalds.

9. Offer ice cream.

10. At the end of the lesson, thank the teacher and, defeated yet again, pack up and go home.

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