I have a few areas of definitive, even spectacular, parenting Fail.

Food.  Both of my kids are terrible eaters, Whit far worse than Grace.  I never make them finish their food, and generally believe that no child will charge in the presence of food.

Shoes.  There will come a day this fall when inevitably the only shoes that fit my kids will be crocs and rainboots.  Probably a day when we need to do something like go to soccer practice or church or a birthday party – that is to say, somewhere that crocs and rainboots are at best inappropriate and at worst totally insufficient.

Tooth brushing.  Um … casual.  At best.  I’m just not sure I feel the urgency here.  Every time we go to the dentist my childrens’ beautiful teeth are remarked on.  See?

Googles.  Oh.  My.  God.  I hate the goggles.  I continuously forget them and then deal with screaming kids who won’t go in the water.  I’m sure this is some kind of Freudian attempt by me to subvert their goggle habit, but it’s not working.  I forget them, they lose them, they don’t work, they can’t be tightened or …

They break.

Is there a parenting nadir lower than the broken goggles?  If so, I don’t know it.  Well, specifically, overtired + broken goggles. And, + my 5 year old boy.

Today, with half an hour on the clock at Basin Harbor, I was trying to pacify a hair-trigger, exhausted Whit by letting him jump off the diving board a few more times.  He came over to me and asked me to tighten his goggles.  I did so … and wound up with one of the ends in my hand.  Uh-oh.  The goggles were still on his face.  Aware that I was surrounded by land mines, I suggested, gingerly: why don’t you just go in with those?  Mentally, I was already trying to figure out where we could  stop en route to my in-laws’ to get a new pair.

Whit barrelled off of the diving board, came up smiling, and swam to the side.  I sighed.  Crisis averted.

Just as my pulse was beginning to slow, Whit was standing in front of me, goggles in hand, face awash in both pool water and tears.  “They broke!  Mummy, you broke my goggles!  You are the Worst Mummy Ever!” he shrieked.

He handed me the goggles and the orphan piece of rubber.  “I can fix them, Whit, I can,” I said urgently and began the panicky effort to thread the broken end through the (incredibly difficult, still, always, why?) fastening at one side.  I tried to poke the rubber end through the small opening.  Tried it in both directions.  Used my teeth.  Futile.  Frustrated.  Frantic.

The volume of Whit’s whining rose and rose.  “Whit!” I hissed.  “Shhhh!”

I HATE GOGGLES.  Have I mentioned that?

A kind-looking woman walked over to me, holding out a pair of blue goggles.  “Do you want to borrow these?” she addressed Whit directly, who set his lips and vigorously shook his head.

“No.” He said, surly, adolescent, rude.

“Let’s try them, Whit,” I smiled gratefully at her.

“Believe me, I’ve been here.” What a nice woman.  The goggles didn’t work for Whit (the pickiness, also, with goggles?  because they are unnecessary, children … get your face wet already).  But they interrupted his rising tantrum in a way that was incredibly helpful, and the offer touched me.

Just be kind, people.  We are all trying.  Stranger woman, fellow mom at the pool?  Thank you.

15 thoughts on “Goggles”

  1. Oh Lindsey – laughing and crying all at the same time. I HATE GOGGLES too! But I made the decision years ago that their learning to swim had to win over my aversion. My solution has been to buy multiple pair at the beginning of the season, and stash them in their own mesh bag that I’ve learned to check for like my keys. We may not have sunscreen, we may not have towels, but by God, we will have goggles. And as long as there is an extra pair – all identical if I can swing it – I don’t even fool with the broken ones anymore because I’m convinced they are designed by the makers of other instruments of torture. Surely there are other moms out there with the same experience. Maybe we should go into the goggle business.

  2. Oh boy! I struggle with goggles too! I was a camp counselor all through the summers of my college years and the poor kids in my group learned never to come to me with goggle issues. The result is that many of them swam w/o goggles by early August! Victory!

  3. yes, laughter and tears. yes, “get your face wet already”. yes, let’s all jump in with bravery and full abandon (to our one wild and precious life). if only i could. until then, yes, be kind…to self, to others, to life.

  4. You are soooo invited to live on my imaginary mommune (mommy commune). I’m so with you on the goggles. And the teeth – I don’t think my kids brushed one morning over the summer. And I only make them do it at night (and they do 25 sec max.) because I know some day it will matter. But I can’t get myself to fight about it today

  5. This cracked me up!! But I totally missed the memo…when did kids have to start wearing goggles? I never wore them as a kid. Nobody did. You just got your eyes all chlorine-y. I’m clearly behind.

  6. Oh the goggles! I had blocked that one completely out of my mind…

    Now that she is seventeen, the issues have to do with other things… And she eats things that I could not have imagined feeding her ten years ago!

  7. I feel like a neglectful parent now. I haven’t messed with goggles for my kids at all. That said, they are 4 and 1 and just now getting used to going under water. Still. Me=bad dad.

  8. Okay, as the mama of two boys on the SWIM TEAM who swim every single day and MUST have goggles — buy a few pair of Aqua Sphere goggles on Amazon. Trust me. They don’t break. They wear like iron. Now, you can still lose them. And we do. But they are the BEST! Don’t buy cheap goggles!

    And… yeah, I have been there. Way too many times, my friend.

  9. goggles. [insert finger snap] that’s what i forgot to put on the list of things survived. that and the ever-present judgmental perfect (in their own minds) mothers.

  10. We have yet to start with goggles, but I’m sure next summer will bring them…
    I am so all about picking your battles. And all the ones you mentioned above? Not my battles either 🙂

  11. Oh wow, in my new-ish (not really, he’s 20 months old right now) mom naivety, I did not know I had to prepare for The Goggles. Thanks for the heads-up! =)

    And eating? Where do I start? It is so frustrating to get him.to.eat.something. Anything. Please. Just eat something.

    Also I was looking for a place to comment in your About page, but I wanted to say that I really like how down to earth and relatable your writing is; I really like your blog!

  12. I put goggles in the same category as snacks for little ones’ at fill-in-the-blank games. Truly unnecessary. I am thankful that none of my kids like goggles. They wanted them, and then never chose to wear them.

    Nice person to help you out. It is always heart-warming to hear of the kindness of strangers.

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