The following is a story of community spirit gone wrong.
Baby is literally climbing the walls – the pool is a best defence for tuckering him out. I look up the times available for infants to use the infant pool. Morning is our only option until suppertime.
I whisk him into the car the moment he wakes to get at least 30 minutes in the pool before time for babies ends. We are greeted by the pool staff, who firmly indicate to us we must be out by noon. Adult/seniors time is next.
As we walk out on the pool deck, there are no other infants or parents in sight. Instead, senior citizens litter the infant pool, using up available seating around the edge. So baby and I wander around the middle.
An elderly man uses every single pool noodle – left for the tots to play with – to fashion a flotation craft, on which he drifts listlessly around the pool, collecting the remaining toys. The staff watch, laugh and move on. I push the back of his head away as he bumps into my son. He doesn’t move or apologize.
Adult/seniors time is 30 minutes away… when my infant is kicked out of the pool.
For some reason, many feel it’s OK for seniors to use up toys, seating and infant pool space during infant time – and, most unfortunate, the family change room, where there is only one unit with a change table.
This has been my experience many times over at the pool this fall.
Don’t get me wrong – my granny lives here and loves the pool, too. Of course, seniors need the pool.
This is about respect; about sharing with young people. Infants may not have words, but they certainly have rights and a place in our community. To the City of Surrey, family programming should be a positive and supported part of planning – the pool should be full of tots at parent-and-tot time. And if it’s not: you are failing in your job.
To the seniors who are respectful and, believe me, they are the majority, thank you. To those who are not, please wait until seniors time if you can’t share. Or watch the kids. They may teach you a few things.
Brianne Watson, Surrey