It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. My wife and kids and I were enjoying an afternoon on the patio, swimming in the pool, listening to tunes and playing. My wife’s phone buzzed with a text message and she eagerly told me that a family member informed her of a sale on a pair of expensive pool floats that we’d been considering buying.
These aren’t just any pol floats — they’re long, solid and practically indestructible. Plus, they are unlike any pool floats that we had because they don’t require me to lapse into semiconsciousness by blowing them up. Of course once blown up my children see that as a test of their abilities to find a way to puncture those floats and return them to their natural state.
The floats we were interested in are called the Sunsation pool float and they regularly cost about $100 each. That’s too rich for our blood. But a pool store nearby was selling them 2 for $100. Well, that changed the calculus. My wife ran to the store and bought two of them right then and there. Exciting! (I know. How exciting can it be to buy a couple of pool floats? This is what happens when you have kids.)
We unwrapped them, threw in the pool and enjoyed the luxuriousness. We felt like the people profiled on the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Or, for a younger audience, “Cribs.” Seriously, these are some choice pool floats. In about 5 minutes, I nearly fell asleep. In fact, I considered sneaking out to the pool once everyone was asleep and slumbering there all night. (Way too much excitement, huh?)
About 30 minutes later after everyone had their turn on the floats I climbed back aboard one of them. Out of my peripheral vision I noticed a white spot on the headrest. My first thought was that a bird pooped on it. I quickly realized that a chunk had been bitten out of it. Maybe it was defective from the store. Or maybe it was something more sinister.
I asked my youngest, “Do you know how this happened?” I asked him.
“I pretended the pool float was a monster and I took a bite out of it,” he casually told me.
“What??!!!” I shouted, in severe disbelief, nearly lapsing into semiconsciousness, as if I’d blown up 3 pool floats.
I quickly found myself sternly explaining to a 4-year-old that a pool float is not a monster, never will be a monster, never has been a monster. There is nothing monstrous about it! I also found myself ranting to my wife about how we can NEVER have anything that’s nice and that is why we’re NEVER buying one of those expensive sectional sofas or beautiful dining room tables she fantasizes about. If we can’t handle a pool float, how can we handle a $2,000 piece of furniture?
We are condemned to a life of “nothing nice,” I ranted at my wife and kids, who looked at me like I might need to be dunked in the pool to snap out of my episode.
This is the way it is with kids. You buy them a new outfit for the first day of school or for a holiday and you might as well just smear peanut butter or dirt or raw eggs on it because you know it will happen at some point the first day they wear it. You buy them a tablet and you might as well just dunk it in a bucket or oven grease because you know that’s mild compared to what your kids will do with it.
Kids are destroyers. They are human bulldozers. Even without trying they are capable of challenging the laws of physics by doing things to objects that even their creators could not comprehend.
And then, as a parent you realize, it’s only a pool float. Sure, it’s a pool float that you’d like to have lining your coffin for eternity, but it’s a pool float. A chunk if out of it? Well, at least you know its monster powers are gone.