The summer holidays are in full swing here - all the schools have finished, the temperatures are soraring into the mid 30s, and the smell of barbecue smoke permeates the evening air. The mommies and kids of Long Island have hit the pools, sprinklers and beaches with a vengeance.
We've become members of the town swimming pool this year, and having proved with a zillion pieces of paper and ID that we are residents (it was just too complicated last year, when I didn't even have a driving licence), we can now pop down for a swim whenever we like. One of the 'rules' in this particular area of New York is that kids can't swim using arm-bands in public pools or at beaches. This is because it creates a false sense of security, apparently - all very well, but when you have two children who can't swim, it makes going in the adult pool impossible. So, we usually head to the baby pool, or occasionally the adult pool if The Doctor is going too. The baby pool is great fun for them, but crazily busy with manic toddlers and their water toys. I spend my time there policing the craziness, retrieving our toys or preventing my children from playing with other people's, and being doused with water by my younger son, who has an obsession with watering cans.
Last week, however, we went swimming at another pool, kindly invited by a friend who belongs to a private yacht club. As we headed out from the changing room I realised two things: that there was only a 'big' pool, and also that at this club you COULD wear arm-bands (which of course I had not brought). In the second that I realised this, (and bear in mind that I was carrying an armful of towels, plus a handbag) both Littleboys managed to charge at full pelt down the steps into the big pool, and immediately get out of their depth.
A lifeguard jumped in immediately to grab Littleboy 2, as I and my friend dropped our stuff and crashed inelegantly into the water (watch, sunglasses and all).
Littleboy 1, however, managed to prove that a year and a half of swimming lessons are finally paying off. He got half away across the pool, doggy-paddling, before he realised that, er, he didn't really know how to swim. Luckily at this point I reached him.
Meanwhile all the glamorous mothers around the pool were staring, no doubt in horror at this crazy British woman pitching with up two manic kids and an armful of grotty towels and immediately requiring lifeguard rescue.
Anyway, aside from the embarrassment, the incident has made me even more determined to teach them to swim ASAP. They already have lessons, but now every time we go to the pool I'm going to be instructing Littleboy 1 myself. If he doesn't swim properly by the end of the summer, it will be mission fail.
So our summer days at the moment smell of chlorine and suncream, and at night I am exhausted from chasing overexcited Littleboys round changing rooms and barking at my firstborn to tread water and kick.
But there is another real plus to pool membership. The pool is open till 9pm, so, at the end of the day, The Doctor and I can take off individually and have a serene evening swim, by ourselves. As I plough up and down the lanes, I can hear the screaming of other people's kids in the distance - and smugly close my mind to it.......