One of the 'keep our grandson amused' schemes that my parents cooked up in advance of our trip was a visit to the swimming pool, for which cunning plan I packed the spud's swimsuit along with a healthy dose of scepticism.
Previous attempts to take our son swimming have met with varying levels of disaster. With the exception of the sea last summer out of which we could not drag him, each glimpse of water has been accompanied by screaming, struggling and various other levels of resistance. It didn't matter how temptingly his father paddled about in the local pool or how many other youngsters were there who were all enjoying it, the spud refused to take to the water.
So, it was not surprising today when we planted him in his carseat and told him that we were off to the pool that he immediately began repeating 'No swimming! No Swimming! No Swimming!' like an endless row of signs at the edge of a deep, dark, dangerous pit; clearly filled with sharks and possibly even the threat of cabbage.
Once inside, he caught sight of the pool and became rapidly hysterical. Mum and I had to carry him into the changing room with his little face all crumpled up with tears and his litany becoming increasingly louder and unintelligible.
As I took off his clothes and tried to get his dancing little legs into his swimsuit I started to feel like the Demon of all Mothers (not to mention the Mother of all Demons); I tried cajoling him with 'Remember the sea? You loved swimming in the sea. You'll like it I promise' as his sobs became ever wilder and my promises less promising.
As we shut the locker and turned the key he started pointing at it and shouting 'My trousers! My trousers!' and trying to skinny out of his swimsuit until in the end I had carry him to the pool while he battered me with all four limbs and his tonsils at the same time.
We finally made it into a really great little family pool with two levels of lovely warm shallow water full of little floating games for children. As I lowered him, still screaming, into the ankle-deep waters of the top pool while amused families looked on, it was like shutting off a circuit. 'Oh!' he exclaimed. 'Oh! Oh! This way Mummy!' and suddenly he was All About The Pool. He waded, he splashed, he poured water from little pots, he jumped up and down, and then as if he had been switched for a completely other child, he pointed to a float and when I brought it over, grabbed on with both hands and with me supporting him, started kicking his feet like he'd been swimming every day of his benighted little life. In this way he swam three laps of the kiddy pool and had to be pried off the float before I lost the use of my arms.
After nearly an hour of larking about and trying to sweet-talk me into letting him swim in the grown-up pool I dragged him away while predictably he begged for 'More swimming! More swimming!'. He collapsed into a deep sleep in the car and on waking looked at his grandmother and said 'swimming again please?'.
It's good this consistency thing. Makes life nice and interesting.