Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pool Pass

I complain quite a bit about my current location and am eagerly awaiting a move. Some of it is deserving, while sprawl is considered a dirty word in certain quarters, we have a Sultan of Sprawl. But my county is also home to a wonderful parks and recreation department. There are a variety of pool and water park like centers that are not very far from our home and are inexpensive, relative to other kid centric attractions.

We are incredibly fortunate that my children have always had easy access to the water which has fostered their love of swimming. Something I also grew up with, but don't take for granted. (What is inexpensive to us is not feasible for lots of parents.)

Aside from lessons at the YMCA, we've primarily spent our time in private pools. This is the first summer that it has made logistical sense to purchase a pass and visit the various locations in our parks system.

Reading an amusing anecdote at Motherhooduncensored made me think about the various dynamics that come into play when you are visiting a public or semi public pool. Blogger Kristin Chase details an outing in which she was forced (by virtue of other parent's negligence) to police her subdivision's baby pool from rambunctious "big" kids.

An absolute aversion to crowds and a flexible agenda means that we are able to attend lots of events with the bare minimum of interactions with other people and their bad ass kids. Even given my knack for scheduling that's not happening at any kind of watering hole during a southern summer.

My general policy is never, ever to confront other people's children. After removing my offspring from any potential danger, I normally ask who is accompanying the future juvenile offender and go from there. Growing up in ungentrified Brooklyn where don't start nothing, won't be nothing was often heard, I'm not at all averse to necessary confrontations.

But I'm often the only black parent in attendance and have no desire to become one of two stereotypes, the angry black bitch or the mammy. Spending any sizable portion of time altering your behavior to avoid other people's racist baggage is foolish, but excluding my in laws, I rarely eat either fried chicken or watermelon in "mixed" company. And I don't reprimand, scold or otherwise mix it up with small kids of any color.

I'm sure this policy will be pushed to the limit while pool side this summer.

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