Get your kids to make friends with some kid with a pool.
Blog by Gina (the smarter Shut Up sister)
The mercury is rising. And it’s not just from the normal stuff in my household like receiving bad news calls from the school or frequent eye rolls from my teenager. This time, it’s due to a more traditional reason – we’re having a full-fledged New England heatwave. And there’s just something about a house with six skylights, no air conditioning, and two fighting special needs children that makes me cranky. I have no energy to cook, clean, or balance my checkbook, though my husband has assured me that this is all quite normal.
“Gene, you don’t do any of that in optimal weather conditions.”
The most difficult part of managing the heat is dealing with that burning question my children pose to me year after year, day after day, nanosecond after nanosecond:
“Mooooooooooooooooom, can we pllllllllllllllllllease get a pool?”
Given the economic conditions and rising costs of pharmaceuticals and co-pays (our family’s biggest expenses), the prospect of my family getting a pool is weak at best. In fact, I’m pretty sure my kids (“Mom! Help! We’re out of popsicles!!!! What do I do?”) have a better chance of winning Survivor than getting a pool. I actually feel guilty telling them that because…well… I always had a pool as a kid and I loved every second of it. I’m pretty sure I spent my first 12 years underwater. (“Mom, I didn’t hear you calling me to do chores. I was in the pool.”)
In extreme weather conditions like this, even I sometimes find myself asking for one. “Mike, can we get a pool? Please, please, I promise I’ll clean our room.” But than my husband reminds me of one important fact – we’re not smart enough to own a pool. You see, chemistry was never one of our better subjects, which is why we didn’t do so well with one of those small inflatable soft pools we tried several years ago.
“Gene, do you think the water is supposed to be black?”
“I’m not sure, Mike, but I’m pretty sure a pool this size isn’t supposed to have a 9-foot deep end.”
Sure, we’ve tried to make it up to our kids by taking them to the beach or joining community pools. We’ve even encouraged them to proactively find their own solutions. “OK kids, I’ve mapped out all of the houses of kids with pools. Go friend them.”
But anyone who has a pool knows that it’s just not the same. There’s nothing about doing a cannonball (or in my case, hiding in a bathing suit) in your own back yard.
But if my children’s disabilities have taught them anything, it’s how to be resilient. I was particularly proud of my 11-year-old daughter with non-verbal learning disability today when I picked her up after the first day of camp. With her difficulty understanding the nuances of communication, I have often worried that she didn’t fully understand our stance on getting a pool. But today, I realized she gets the message, loud and clear.
“Mom, I met this new girl at camp. She has a pool and a hot tub with a cabana. Yeah, yeah, don’t worry. I’m working on hooking up with her.”