Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Things Are Going Swimmingly, Thanks

Woody was a merman today.

It pains me to admit this. I'm not the merman type, for one thing. Not since I was the Woodyettes' age at least. I normally wouldn't even blog something like this, but it demonstrates a similarity between myself and my older Woodyette that I find refreshing.

As a kid in summer, I could make any pool a complete fantasyland all my own. Irregular shapes were best. If a pool had an angle, or even a bent oval, I could create entire worlds. Since the only mode of transportation was liquid, I became the small, skinny equivalent of Aquaman. Also, we didn't have a pool of our own, so pool visits were a treat. One grandma had a pool at the trailer park where she lived at the time (it had a bend in it!), or we would occasionally swim at one of the local high schools that offered public swimming during the week.

I became pretty proficient at swimming underwater. I had very little natural buoyancy because I was so thin, so I could torpedo around the bottom of the pool for as long as I could hold my breath. All the while I was travelling from one underwater city to another, or from a submarine to a secret underwater base. My missions were always life or death (this is more of a boy thing, I imagine). I think probably they involved espionage of one sort or another in those days.

Jelly, of course, prefers mermaids. Still, that doesn't prevent her from dividing the pool into various sections that serve numerous purposes. One moment she was designating one section as my bedroom (as the Merman Daddy, of course), another section as Doodle's bedroom, and the jacuzzi (no fool is she) as her own bedroom. Mommy was exempt as she was swimming actual laps at the time.

Later, while Mommy and Daddy were drying off next to the pool, Jelly was a dolphin show at Sea World. She was alternately Dolly the Dolphin, or Dolly's trainer (depending on which one would get more applause) and begging the audience to notice all the neat tricks she (or the dolphin) could do.

[Side Note: I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. This child can come up with names faster than I've ever known. She appears to have swallowed "1001 Names for Baby" and can recall them at will. The problem is, she assigns these names to whatever imaginary characters she has either assumed or created for purposes of her latest fantasy, and I CAN'T KEEP UP. No matter how hard I try, I am always at least three names behind the curve. So no matter what I call her, it's wrong. Plus, she has, like, enough dolls to populate small towns in Louisiana, and each one has a name. Heaven help me if I don't remember which doll goes with which name. I try to avoid trouble by describing them, rather than calling them by name. "Go pick up that doll that looks like it got run over by a Peterbilt," I'll say. "Daaaaaaddy!" Jelly will respond, "that's Charlotte!"

Of course. Silly me.

I pity her poor husband years from now as they breathlessly await the arrival of their new baby, and that increasingly desperate soul tries to keep up with the latest nom du jour. "So we're calling her Susan, right?" "No! That's so 30 minutes ago! We'll call her Ariel, of course!"]

This pool is not ours, I should mention. Mrs. Woody has become good friends with her visiting teacher, and this gracious lady has insisted for the last couple of years that we come over and use their pool whenever we like. I believe she started doing this because Mrs. Woody had mentioned that she liked the therapeutic quality of exercise she gets from swimming. But what started as a wonderful act of service has now become a nice tradition, cementing our friendship with that family and giving both Mrs. Woody and myself extra chances to work off a bit of poundage.

Our pool is a community pool, and now that school is out it will be forever populated by all the raucous, bored-out-of-their-collective-skulls teenagers that I always feel an impulse to throw in jail rather than look at. (I'm sure many of them are wonderful kids. I just can't take that chance.) So we prefer not to use our community pool. Our friends' pool is cleaner, and has cool waterfalls. No contest.

Also worthy of note: tomorrow is Jelly's 10th birthday. 8 was significant for the obvious baptism reason. 10 becomes significant because it's her first double-digit birthday. Two more years and she'll be... dare I say it?... a BEEHIVE. [Cue scary music]

Fortunately for the Woodys, 10 is still young enough to be lost in the wonder of it all, and we will drive Jelly over to a place called Whimsic Alley which specializes in (surprise!) Harry Potter paraphernalia. She's definitely looking forward to spending some of her birthday cash ("Thanks, Grandma!") while Daddy huffs and puffs behind her, panting like a labrador in 110° heat while trying to keep up.

Wish me well.

No comments: