Thursday 26 June 2008

Treading water

It was Boy #1's Summer Show at nursery this week. The twelve children in his class lined up smartly in front of a selection of their parents & grandparents in the school's back-yard, complete with animal masks perched on the top of their heads. Each stood forward in turn to announce their name, age, and what they liked doing best at school, before singing some songs and doing the movements to match their mask. Call me biased, but Boy#1's snake impression was particularly convincing, I thought.

The end of their last term before they move into the fast-flowing torrent of primary education is racing towards us at break-neck speed, and it stopped me in my tracks to see all the children I have known from todder-hood stand there, self-posessed and articulate as they ready themselves for Big School. I snapped away with the camera, capturing images of not just Boy #1 but his special friends as well, for posterity.

I plan to print off a large photo of my cherished Boy peering around his teacher's skirt as the class waited to come outside and entertain us, and put it somewhere prominent. It won't clear up the mess, wipe his runny nose, clean up the spilt milk, or sit in the naughty corner with me when I've lost my temper, but it might help to bottle that moment, so I can uncork it when the going gets tough, and remind myself why I'm doing this stay at home mother thing.

...and in other news...

You get to the gym. You decided before you set out that interval training is just not on for the 3rd visit in 4 days, so have only brought your swimming costume with you - the very same swimming costume which Husband has informed you is an Embarrassment and should be Thrown Out. You, of course, are convinced is absolutely fine and that he just doesn't like the colour blue on you.

You put it on.

You notice when you attach the locker key safety pin to the side of your swim suit that it goes in a little more easily than you remember. You disregard this, and go to use the facilities before your swim. (Must remember to do more pelvic floor exercises...) (Must remember to do ANY pelvic floor exercises)

You glance in the mirror as you leave the loos, and stop dead as you suddenly realise that Husband was right, dammit.

The material of your swim suit has perished in that attractive way only swimsuit material seems to. Rather than opaque blue, the material across the bottom of your bosom area resembles a fine mesh.


Thankfully the changing rooms are empty so you can investigate full extent of the damage in peace. You realise that not only are you in trouble up front, but an area of material on the low-cut back is letting you down too.

It's decision time. Should you go in, and bank on the pool being as empty as it normally is on a Thursday morning, allowing you to do your 35 minute swim without too many people seeing the shaming evidence of your lack of interest in that most horrific of all shopping trips, the swimsuit buying expedition? Or should you give it up as a bad job, and slink sneakily home, perhaps stopping for a Starbucks MochaFrappucino on the way before you start to scale the laundry mountain for the 4th time this week?

Normally, I would have gone for the latte option (latte/latter, geddit? Sigh), but memories of the fat measurement at my gym review, beach photos from holiday, and most importantly of all, the 3 course dinner laden with fat and carbs I devoured with my girlfriends last night, resulted in my sidling into the swimming pool, towel clutched tightly around me until absolutely at the poolside, before I slipped quickly into the water. Needless to say, I did no backstroke today.


  1. Swimsuit shopping. Ugh. Double ugh. And it is on the agenda for this weekend.

    I would have gone to Starbucks anyway. And gotten the light frappucino. So good job, swimming anyway.

  2. I have a friend who bought herself a flash new swimming cos which was white (to show off her tan) with a huge silver seahorse on the front. Went totally see through the moment she got it wet (at her local gym) and it wasn't ladies only night . . .

  3. Sadly I've heard from many sources that swimming isn't much use for weight loss. (And I'm living proof!). Still, it's good for many other things - aerobic fitness, and presumably something in the way of muscle toning. I hope. Good for you though. I possibly would have risked the swim as well, but then rewarded myself with something yummy on the way home!

    [I've been fortunate enough to have found a swimwear shop locally that stocks more than skimpy bikinis. And realistic sizing in one-pieces - ie. two sizes down from what I was trying to squeeze into in the local department store chain! Makes a whole lot of difference to the psychology of trying on swimmers. I don't care how much they cost, I go there.]

  4. Girl - get yourself a polyester swimsuit. The nylon and spandex only last 3 months if you are a regular swimmer - so that's just throwing your money away. The polyester ones last more like 3 years. That is of course if you don't mind the same suit for that long.

    Sorry Tracey - but I just don't agree. Swimming - like lapping for 1 hour a day is the best exercise for losing weight. Proof is in the lack of pudding.

  5. Good for you for being brave and daring! I applaud you for your fortitude.

  6. Swimsuits - I'm something of an expert here, sadly. (Get a life, girl). 1) Never buy a costume for serious pool use (lounging on the beach doesn't count) in a pale colour. White, pink, palish blue. They all go transparnt. It's not the bit yoou can see at the front that's the problem quite so much as the bum.
    2) Endurance fabric is the stuff. Not sexy, but it lasts.
    3) Never ever put your costume anywhere near detergent. They go transparent. So no washing machine.
    4) Buy on line. Allens of Kingsbury is great. Much quicker than going to the shops.
    Did I say don't buy a pale colour? They go transparent...

    And, by the way, the best thing to do in the pool if you want to lose weight might be (whispers) interval training. And long, long steady swims. Long ones.

    OK, I'll go now.

    I really must try to follow my own advice.

  7. Wow - it must have been ancient to have shredded like that! But I'm very envious that you're even getting into a pool. I am a terrible swimmer and have a gammy shoulder so it's not really an option for me.

  8. Husbands need to be more specific, don't they? How were you to know?

    Anyway, here's my tip for long lasting swimming costumes - Zoggs

  9. Hi Ped - what makes you think I didn't do both?

    Tara, I could have been that woman - though not sure about the silver seahorse. What works fine on the beach in Greece may seem a little OTT in Kensington...

    Tracey, oh well. Though I must say most of the women who were in there with me had pretty OK shapes - but of course that might have had something to do with the fact they went swimming AFTER their punishing gym routine. No way, jose...

    Hello Aims 'proof is in the lack of pudding'- like it! Though perhaps not having the vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce in the first place might be a good idea too...

    Thanks Irene! I'm in Holland this weekend - though for the good of the local populace, have thrown away my swimsuit... Is that a sigh of relief I hear?

    GPM, hang on a minute whilst I get my notepad, will definitely take all those tips along when I replace the perished peril. Thankyou!

    EPM, now I come to think of it, it predated my wedding, so we're talking at least 8 years old. Though I have to admit that it hasn't had that much use...

    Working Mum, thankyou. I always thought Zoggs only did goggles. Shows how much I know - I am off to google them now!

  10. Maybe it's what I put in my mouth after swimming... Maybe the swimming is simply keeping me at maintenance level - if I didn't I'd be a stone or two worse off...Maybe two one-hour squads (more than 2km worth of drills/laps/sprints, etc) isn't enough!
    So many people have told me it doesn't lose weight that I have tended to believe them, maybe I'll have to investigate.

  11. A burkha. that's what we need. Burkhas. Then we can swim with no shame.

    Take a look at the snappily named Hijab Now and start flexing that gold card. (don't pretend it's not gold...)


  12. I admire you for getting in the pool despite the risk of flashing your bum. I would have used it as an easy excuse to skip the exercise and head to Starbucks. Bravo!

  13. Very admirable getting in the swimming pool wiht the perils of embarassment rearing their heads. I am still using the one from my pregnancy as its generosity still hides a multitude of sins.
    Hope your son makes a smooth transition to 'big' school. The photos will provide you all wiht wonderful memories and no doubt be able to be used to find people on facebook etc in years to come.

  14. I have a similar swimsuit that I reserve for under my wetsuit when I ocean swim. I have a secret hope that it'll scare away the sharks!!

  15. you're quite right: why do swimming costumes do that: erode to that nasty meshy see thru mess? is it because the swim suit manufacturers enjoy the sadistic pleasure they get from know that we will then be reduced to standing in a changing room beneath the most unfortiving light with our cellulite and sagging bottoms horribly illuminated? of course you buy the damn thing: what's worse, most of your flaws on show. Or all of them, courtesy of swimsuit erosion.

  16. Hi Tracey - those one hour squads sound hell - and certainly put my 40 minutes of laps into the shade (though at least I do front crawl).

    Pig, gold? Please. Nothing less than black, obviously... (Gold is SO last year... ;))

    Thanks Carolyn! And yes, I will be checking my swimmers a little more regularly in future.

    Mel, no doubt they will. Assuming he's ever allowed on-line unsupervised that is. Do you think 25 is too young?

    Hi Ali - gosh, you swim in the ocean in a wetsuit, does that mean you need to protect yourself from nasties like jellyfish? I take my hat off to you. There is no way I would take exercising into the danger zone!

    RM, swimsuit erosion, what a great phrase, and sums it up perfectly! Now I can say it's not because I didn't look after properly and ignored the manufacturers instructions; no, it's because of a perfectly natural phenomena, rather like coastal erosion or migration of sand dunes...


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