So it's Thursday. Thursday = swimming lessons, which ultimately = wine for mummy. After last week's nightmare I was prepared. For a start, I called the swimming school earlier in the week and explained that my son really, really, really doesn't seem to want to go and what do they advise. Given that they're getting wads of cash out of me, they obviously insisted that I keep bringing him. And not to worry, they were used to screaming children. Comforting.
I suggested that maybe letting my 3 year old (who loves swimming) join the class would help his older brother settle down. Either older brother could act as the big know it all, OR he could have someone to compete against OR he could have friendly hand to hold onto. They agreed despite little brother not really being the right age.
I broke the news to both boys. Son 2 whooped with delight. Son 1 sobbed, wailed and yelled and insisted that I call back and cancel. I relayed what the swimming teacher had said to say, which is that swimming, like school, is not optional. I think its safe to say that that didn't go down well.
Anyway, fast forward to this afternoon. I had planned it all. When they left school (presented with a smoothie) we'd come home, put on a video and eat popcorn. This would feed their starving stomachs with something out of the ordinary and they'd get to wind down and rest, before throwing themselves in a pool.
It worked. All was calm and quiet. They even got in the car without a fuss. Son 2 practically galloped into the car. Once at the pool, son 2 got out of his clothes and into his swimming costume in record time. His older brother sobbed. Son 2 very sweetly said: 'I'll hold your hand Joshy'. That didn't go down well either. Son 1 decided that he was going to use the 'I won't get dressed and therefore can't go swimming' tactic. It backfired. I told him he would go swimming if it meant swimming with his willy on display. He wasn't keen on that option either. In the end it took a friend and I to hold him down and get his costume on.
I got them to the side of the pool. Son 2 was delighted with hiw new swimming cap and readily put on arm bands. Son 1 was less jolly but seemed slightly calmer as his brother was so cheery. I smugly thought what a clever mummy I was for overcoming the swimming problem. Then the teacher came to lead them to the side of the pool, and at that moment, it dawned on son 2 that mummy wasn't going to be in the pool with him.
The wheels came off. Son 1 knows how to throw a good tantrum, but no-one beats Son 2 in the stubborness stakes. He yelled. And yelled. And yelled. And yelled. This caused Son 1 to yell and yell and yell. So now instead of having one yelling child, I had two. Their yells echoed off the ceiling and reverberated through the vast space, so that small children sitting in the watching gallery covered their ears and cried.
It's at times like these that you tutt loudly with the other parents and pretend you have no idea whose children they are. I was mortified - mainly because it had been my great plan to have Son 2 come along and I had assured the teachers that he LOVED swimming. He usually does. I could only imagine what they were thinking.
I was eventually asked by the staff to leave the building as the children were apparently yelling for my benefit. So I did. I spent the swimming lesson playing solitaire on my mobile phone, wondering if my children were still alive. One kind man did come and say that the yelling had stopped, but that they still weren't smiling. Well, it's a step in the right direction isn't it?
Finally the 30 minutes were up and I went to collect them. They both stood there, heaving huge juddering sobs with Son 2 saying: You left me, You left me. That's right son, twist the old guilt dagger a bit deeper.
They have vowed never to return. I've resorted to bribery. I have ordered Gogos off Amazon (I have no idea what Gogos are but apparently they are all the rage at primary school and Son 1 would readly gnaw off his right arm to get some). I've told them that if they go to swimming next week and don't cry, they'll get a gogo each. I know this is going to back fire. I know they will go to swimming and yell, but do it and then demand a gogo. They will forget the fine print about not crying. I will regret ever coming up with the stupid idea, but sometimes you've got to buy results. And £10 for 30 gogos and the half chance that they swim quietly without bringing the roof down sounds like a bargain to me.