Upon hearing my desire to find a pool for Nerd, our neighbor recommended an aquatic center in Gainesville where she has taken her kids before. She tells me the place is super-duper kid friendly. Slides. Fountains. Splash pad. Zero-entry pool. Water buckets and guns.
In other words, it's Stimulation City. Water every-flippin'-where, and it would be noisier than a dryer full of quarters. It sounds perfect. If Nerd cried, we wouldn't have a room of judgy parents staring and wondering why we won't leave. No one would care that water makes her cry because they'd be wrapped up in their own kids having fun.
So we drove Nerd out to Gainesville last Saturday to give this place a chance. Aside from the fact it's being run by a bunch of overly-tan teenagers who know everything about puka shell anklets and jack about swim diapers, the place is amazing. It's clean and appealing. I wanted to be 10 again.
We get Nerd in her swim diaper and take her to the splash pad. She's not having it. We try the zero-entry pool. She starts the "bye pool" screaming fits. We push and encourage and show her she's safe. There's no convincing her.
We take a popcorn break, and all is right in the world.
But of course we didn't plunk down $20 to leave after 15 minutes. She's going to cry, but we're going to keep pushing.
Back in the water we go. We put our hands in the mini-geysers and splash in the water, smiling hard enough to lock our jaws and singing every song we can think of that makes Nerd happy. Still nothing. Happy songs in water does not equal happy Nerd in water.
We take another popcorn break.
We're still not done. We take her back to the fountains, where this time, two other toddler girls are playing happily. One is roly poly with black curly hair in a single ponytail. She is straight up shoving her little face into one of the geysers and running away squealing to her mom. The other is very tall for her 21 months and practically bald. Her geyser play included stepping on them and waving her hands through them.
Nerd takes notice.
And then this happened:
Happiness. Pure joy. "Let ME put my face in it!" I almost exploded from the amount of pride I was experiencing.
The only tears Nerd shed after that were when we had to go home.
Now who wants to say I give up on my child?