The 7 stages of paddling pool “fun”

If you haven’t got a paddling pool, are you even a parent?

There’s no better way to survive the current blast of heat than to sit in what is effectively a massive puddle and attempt to pretend you’ve gone abroad. In a country where air conditioning does not come as standard, we have to do whatever it takes to survive. 

But while the paddling pool might make everything seem OK for a short while, are they actually more trouble than they’re worth?

Let’s examine the 7 stages of paddling pool “fun” to decide: 

1. Blowing the b*****d thing up

How annoying this will be depends on how over the top you went when ordering the pool.

Did you decide that the piddly little round pool that fills up with just over an inch of water was too lame? Did the phrase “go big, or go home” run through your head? Did you order the 10ft mega ambitious paddling pool that will have your sweaty neighbours going green with envy as they struggle to get even one of their tantruming children into their pathetic excuse for a paddling pool?

The problem with ordering a monster pool is that you will now be responsible for filling it with air. That broken bicycle pump isn’t going to do the trick. 

You can huff and puff like a big bad wolf all that you want, but we all know that sodding thing is going to take at least 30 minutes to inflate. Your kids – enraged by the heat – ran out of patience 20 minutes ago. 

This beast of a paddling pool will take you at least half a day to get up and running

2. The guilt of filling it up

With water reservoirs at an all-time low, taking water from the tap feels all wrong, especially if you have splashed out on the aforementioned mega ambitious paddling pool.

However then there’s the fear of using water from a water butt, which is bound to contain legionnaires’ disease. You’re now stuck between the decision of saving the environment by not filling it at all, or saving your sanity by giving the kids what the want. There’s no hose pipe ban yet, so just get the tap on!

3. Hooray, I’m so cool

The kids are happily splashing about and you have dipped a toe in as well. Life is good. 

You’re even wondering if you can get one of those seriously cool inflatable unicorns in there and picture yourself sipping a cocktail while floating as the sun goes down. Genius. 

4. Noooo, it’s a death trap

This is parenting, and therefore the fun cannot last forever, obviously. It soon becomes apparent that the base of the paddling pool is more slippery than an ice rink. 

Everyone keeps falling over, but no one will stop running. 

5. The eww factor 

As the kids hop in and out of pool with wild abandon, it steadily fills with grass, leaves, twigs, bugs and all kinds of other bits that make it look less and less like the tropical paradise you had managed to kid yourself that it was. 

6. Someone needs the toilet

Whether your child is in nappies or potty trained, eventually someone will decide to fill their pants where they stand, or need to nip inside. 

The problem is that pulling wet swimming, or regular, clothes off of a soggy child is a right pain in the arse. Couple that with the fact that wet, grass-covered footprints through your house are not a welcome sight, the paddling pool has achieved the impossible – making children’s bowel movements even more unpleasant to deal with. 

7. Deflation

No matter how many times you blow the bloody thing up, every time you turn around it appears to have sagged more than your boobs post-giving birth. 

Deflation – both of the pool and your spirits – is inevitable.

So after all of this, is the paddling pool worth it?

Of course it is. Because anything that stops your kids from erupting into a meltdown sparked by the fact that us Brits just were not built for temperatures above 25C, is a good thing. Even if it only lasts for 10 minutes. 

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