Pool poos a step too far, even for a par­ent


Be­ing a par­ent is gross.

But it’s not nor­mally un­til I am around non-par­ents or peo­ple who have been out of the lit­tle kid game for a while that I re­minded of just how many dis­gust­ing things I am in­volved with on a daily ba­sis.

Sum­mer hol­i­days have also served as a de­cent re­minder of just how truly com­pla­cent I have be­come to­wards all things un­clean.

Half-eaten bar­be­cue food spat out by a kid? No wor­ries, I’ll eat that up.

Oh, you dropped it on the ground too? Not to worry, I’ll just get ex­tra pro­tein from the dirt. Five-sec­ond rule, and all that.

The tell-tale pre-spew burp gur­gle? You bet I’ll put my hands out to catch that vomit with a re­ac­tion time of a half-de­cent cricket wick­et­keeper.

Bit of poo on my hands when your wrig­gly child de­cides to prac­tise their wrestling moves mid nappy change? That’s fine, I’ll wash it off later.

My usu­ally squiffy tummy doesn’t so much as flut­ter now when deal­ing with var­i­ous bod­ily flu­ids of my kids.

But there’s still some­thing that I have never re­ally felt com­fort­able with, and some­times I feel like I’m the only per­son who ever re­ally thinks about it. Pub­lic swim­ming pools. Maybe it’s be­cause it’s not my chil­dren’s bod­ily flu­ids that we’re deal­ing with, but ev­ery time I see or think of a chil­dren’s swim­ming pool, all I think of is num­ber ones and twos. Litres of wees pool­ing to­gether while kids splash around in it, oc­ca­sion­ally dodg­ing the ‘code brown’ floater.

The thought of it makes me break out into a cold sweat.

Ev­ery time I men­tion it to oth­ers though, the re­sponse is al­ways that there are so many chem­i­cals in the pools, ‘neu­tralises’ the nas­ties.

That doesn’t make it OK for me. If any­thing, that grosses me out even fur­ther, knowing the full ex­tent of how many chem­i­cals must be re­quired to deal with such high quan­ti­ties of un­wanted ones and twos.

So, it was with no great sur- it prise that this week I read sta­tis­tics around this ex­act topic un­der the bril­liant head­line of ‘Poo and vomit close Christchurch’s pub­lic pools hun­dreds of times’.

Some clever and slightly gross­minded jour­nal­ist – af­ter my own heart - re­quested fig­ures from the coun­cil that re­vealed just how many times coun­cil-run pools had to be closed due to poo and vomit sce­nar­ios. I’ll save you the read and just say this: lots.

I ap­pre­ci­ate that the Christchurch City Coun­cil is try­ing to put steps in place to limit these sce­nar­ios, which in­cludes ask­ing par­ents and chil­dren to use the toi­lets be­fore en­ter­ing the wa­ter.

But the cruel re­al­ity of it all is that noth­ing is go­ing to work. Any­one who has had any in­ter­ac­tions with a tod­dler knows that ask­ing them if they want to go to the toi­let when you are con­ve­niently stand­ing be­side one will al­most never re­sult in them us­ing the facilities.

So for now, I have mag­i­cally avoided tak­ing a dip with the kids while sur­rounded by other lit­tle feral, nappy-clad bums in pub­lic pools.

But I know the day will come when I have to put aside the ob­vi­ous filth of the sit­u­a­tion and get in there for the sake of my chil­dren’s hap­pi­ness.

Just don’t ex­pect me to be happy about it. Or put my head


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Greer Berry

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