Today wasn’t Dallas’s best day. He became a swim lesson drop out, and he took an ill-fated trip to the barbershop. Lately, he hasn’t minded getting his hair cut too much because he gets to go to Berkshire Trains afterwards and play with all the cool Thomas toys. He loves that place so much that he whispers its name with pure joy. His face lights up and he’ll say, “Mommy, Daddy is taking me to the…train store.” I don’t know why he feels the need to use hushed tones, but he’s not screaming, so I’m happy. Apparently, the scene at the barbershop pre-train store was like one out of the bowels of hell. There was a lot of crying, struggling, hitting, and overall unpleasantness. As a result, Dallas’s haircut wasn’t quite finished: it’s really short in the back and long in the front. I guess it’s kind of a reverse mullet, and that’s quite a look.
On the swim lesson front, things weren’t much better. Last weekend, Dallas clung to me in the pool like a spider monkey. I knew he would never be a star pupil in the class, but I was pleased he had gotten in the water with me to try it out. This week, he wouldn’t even get in the water. He just sat at the edge of the pool and told me he wasn’t going to go in. I was in a swimsuit in front of a bunch of skinny, young, blond moms – one of them in a BIKINI- so I was not pleased that Dallas had chosen this particular moment to really stand his ground. I found myself becoming increasingly more frustrated with the whole issue, and I couldn’t figure out why. I really don’t give a hoot if Dallas wants to swim or not. He’s two years old, and I imagine the pool looks pretty deep to him even at a depth of four feet. The only reason we even started the lessons was because he said he wanted to try it after watching Lottie fling herself into the pool week after week at her swim lessons. I tried a few half-hearted attempts to get him into the water with no success, and then I declared our pool time over for the day.
After the whole thing was over, it finally hit me why I was upset: the other mothers. These other women in the pool with their six-month-old babies were smiling at me when Dallas refused to get into the water, but the smiles weren’t ones of sympathy. Well, they were faux-sympathetic, and that’s what really ticked me off. The other mothers were in the water with their perfect little babies who didn’t yet have the verbal ability to scream, “Get me out of here!” These Smuggy McSmugsters were probably inwardly congratulating themselves for not having difficult children, children who didn’t listen and who refused to do as they were told. Children who had opinions and expressed them. They smiled at me as if to say, “Gee, you must be embarrassed that your hoss of a kid is too scared to go into a pool with a bunch of babies.” Seeing those smug smiles on their smug faces made me want to scream. I wanted to say, “Just wait until your kid is two years old, and then we’ll see who’s smug.” I wanted them to understand that maybe my boy didn’t want to swim, but he could speak and sing circles around other kids his age. I wanted them to know that he has memorized the majority of the books in our house and can “read” them back to me at any moment. So maybe my son won’t be an athlete, but he’s smart, funny, stubborn, and curious. I wanted to tell all of this to the Queens of Smugville, but instead, I took Dallas’s hand and led him into the locker room where I promised him that he wouldn’t have to go back in the water until he was good and ready. He hugged me and said, “You’re the best woman I ever had, Mommy.” Take that, Smugsteronies.