The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada


Cruelty comes in a few forms.  Today it was in the form of deep-fried food.

Girl has been attending swim lessons regularly since I can remember.  JB and I view learning to swim as a “life skill” and therefore it is required and does not count toward the activities in which they elect to participate.  So anyway, Girl has been steadily learning to swim and has worked her way up through almost the whole YMCA ladder.  It’s hard to imagine this is the same kid that refused to go into the pool her first lesson without JB or I.  If you will indulge me for a moment, it’s a funny story.

She was all of 3ish years old, starting lessons without a parent in the pool with her.  It was small pool at a certain health club where JB and I liked to exercise.  She was suspicious something was going on when I brought Mid, her then-baby brother and did not put on my own suit.  I tried to be nonchalant, casually talking up how fun swimming is and yadda yadda.  She did not buy it.  When we entered the pool, she stared at me with cold blue eyes.  “I am not going”, she said.  I stood my ground.  She stood hers.  I encouraged her, then let her know this was mandatory.  If she was not going in, she would have to sit at the side of the pool and watch, because we were not leaving.  For two lessons she sat at the side of the pool, pissed off, refusing to go in, watching the others in the class swim around the pool with the teacher.  On the third lesson, finally figuring out that she is not the only stubborn (can-be-a-total-pain-in-the-ass) person in our house, she entered the water.  Which brings us to today.

As I noted above, she has pretty much gone through the Y program.  She also shared that she loved competing in the community swim meet over the last two years, (did not win a single ribbon, btw).  She wanted to swim more. While she seems to love being in the water, she’s not quite ready for all-out competition.  Our Y offers a “swim club” and it was explained to me this is somewhat of a bridge from swim lessons to swim team competition.  We weren’t sure what to expect when the boys and I brought her to the Y, armed with video games and books.  After check in, I understood she was to be in the pool for an hour with the swimmers.  As she started, the boys reminded me they had not had a snack all afternoon, (growing boys apparently need to eat every 1 1/2 hours) and were STARVING.  I normally have snacks with me, as my kids and I frequently get hungry at inopportune times, but today I did not.  Though outside my usual guidelines, I took them to McD’s.  But what to do?  I wanted to watch Girl swim,  Also, this “swim club” is unfamiliar territory and I wasn’t sure if I should stick around.  The boys and I went through the drive-thru and returned to the Y.  Luckily its set up so we could site at a table overlooking pool.

I realized the cruelty of this as the smell of yummy deep-fried goodness lofted up to the open 2nd floor where people on ellipticals and treadmills peered down.  Scratch that.  It wasn’t really peering, so much as daggers coming down from above.  It occurred to me that we (I had a cheeseburger, so sue me) were indulging in junk food as parête were sweating, working out, being healthy.  For today, I felt (a little) bad and planned to bring healthy snacks next week.  I suppose if I wanted to be really cruel, I could have walked upstairs and ate my cheeseburger while walking on the track.

Next week, sprouts on whole grain bagels with hummus, for sure.


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