"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vegas, Baby: First Float

I learned how to count cards from these guys,
just not how to place a bet.
During our recent trip to Vegas, I was left to my own devices for much of the daytime. The eventime was filled with food and friends and that's the post to come. But I couldn't just sit myself down at a blackjack table and while away my 401K. For one reason, I wouldn't know how to actually make a bet in a casino any more than I would know how to build a carbon dioxide scrubber just because I saw them do it in Apollo 13. I don't even understand how the slot machines work now that they're all digitized.

The other reason I wasn't basking in the debauchery of Sin City was that I had a child in tow. While the Mommy was at her conference, the Boy was with me. We stayed at a "resort" called Red Rock, which is a long ways from the Vegas Strip on the west side of town near actual mountains and big rocks that are red and stuff. Not that once you're inside you see any natural formations of anything other than what naturally happens to the human body when you sequester yourself indoors and chain smoke until your ears are ringing with those tinny bleeps and blips. My wife, in fact, didn't go outside for nearly 48 hours. There was no need.

They also have concerts here while you bathe.
There's only so many times you can wheel a stroller around the outskirts of a casino before you start to smell like one of them. (Take your pick of antecedents for that last pronoun. Or invent your own. I won't mind.) My other choice was the pool. You see the picture there. I have to admit that it was pretty swanky. Lots of palm tree shade. Fountain in the middle. Little gazebos with what amounts to four-post beds. Lounge chair pads IN the water. Not to mention the lifeguards and serving girls in skimpy bikinis. Which I'm not going to mention. You're welcome.

Most important to me was the wealth of shallow water beckoning for Xander's first swim.

Here's the preparation necessary to ready a six-month-old for the pool:

Swimsuit: Check, except that the first day Xander wore a regular outfit instead because we couldn't find the suit we packed. It did say "Surf's Up" on it. The next day we found the real suit. It's full-body, like a surfer's wet suit.

Swim diaper: These don't naturally suck up liquids like a regular disposable diapers. I don't know exactly how they keep the pee in, then, but at least you're not carrying around ten pounds of pool water with the baby.

Sunscreen: Preferably SPF 7000 and in spray bottle form. Slather on all exposed areas of skin. Avoid the eyes, but cover the head thoroughly. Faux-hawk hair-do optional.

Big, floppy sun hat: This makes the sunscreen covering the head moot, and helps the child by shading the eyes so he can see what's going on directly in front of him but nowhere else.

Okay. The first day I took Xander down to the pool around four o'clock. The weather was plenty nice, not too super hot, but warm enough to want to get in the water. We found a shaded corner and I sat Xander in the shallow water. He's just barely sitting up without tipping over, so I didn't let go of him, and he wasn't as clingy as I expected. He does enjoy his bath time, so perhaps sitting in the water fully clothed and bonneted was not such a shock.

When I put him in his floatie tube, he seemed more apprehensive, but just kept that stoic expression on his face. He's a rather pleasant guy most of the time, but when he's introduced to something brand new, he gets this "whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis" look. He stayed that way for most of the time that I pushed him around the pool. He is still a little small for the floatie tube, so he slid as far down as he could without dropping out the bottom. There's really no way he could slip out of there, but I kept one hand underneath him at all times. The one thing he didn't like was getting splashed when the fountain went off and we were too close. Otherwise the only complaint I got was when I noticed his lips were dark purple. Time to get out.

The next day I took him to the pool a little before 3:00. As we entered the pool area, a prominent sign kindly told us the pool was closing at 3:00 so they could prepare for the O.A.R. concert that night. Annoying as it was that my only source of entertainment for the afternoon would be closed in ten minutes, the wind made it pretty miserable to want to stay in the pool. He fussed a lot more than he did the previous day about being in the cold.

On the third day, we only had some time in the morning for swimming. The temperature was already in the 80s at 10:30, which is high for a clan from Colorado, but not really hot enough to enjoy their cool-water pool for very long. We drifted around in the water, Xander constantly looking like he was about to ask what I was making him participate in. When his lips again became bluey, we got out and wrapped up and went back into the climate-controlled structure of the hotel.

Maybe it was that I was alone, that I didn't have anyone to share it with, like the boy's mother. Or maybe I'm overly cautious and Xander was loving it in that water. Either way, the experience was less than satisfactory to me. Both of my girls were water-babies from as early as I can remember. I know I didn't expect him to jump in and start swimming, but a little more excitement or at least expression from the boy would have helped.


  1. Perhaps he was really just objecting to the fact that his his awesome faux-hawk was hidden under a sun hat.

  2. I know if I had an awesome faux-hawk, I'd be upset if I had to hide it under a sun hat.

    On neither of my trips to Vegas did I venture into the pool though. I did, however, make it to the pool side bar.

  3. Maybe he was eying all of those scantily clad babes and nonplussed by the lack of milk.

  4. Paul and MJ: I spent a good three and a half minutes working on his hair. Then I remembered I had to put his hat on still. I was more annoyed than he was about it.

    darev: I don't know what you're talking about. He had on that big hat and couldn't see much. I kept my eyes on him and didn't see nuthin', either.

  5. It's obvious that he would rather have been gambling at the Little Big Spender Kiddie Kasino or chowing down at one of the Belly-Up 'N Burp for Babies All You Can Gum buffets. Oh well. Next time, you'll know!

  6. Lola: I did take him to the casino breakfast buffet two mornings in a row. He had all the bacon he could eat. Isn't that enough?

  7. Red Rock is an excellent place to stay. Hopefully you checked out some of the Vegas shows and went out to some nice swanky places for some food (nom nom nom)

  8. Hmmm...I've found that some kids are just more apathetic to a new experience like that than others. I'm sure Xander will start loving the water more and more as he gets older.

    I'm a paranoid parent when it comes to my kids and swimming. Especially before they've had swimming lessons of some sort. However, so long as the water is no more than ankle-deep OR they're in a floatation device with someone holding on to them, I can be reasonable. That's not insane, right? RIGHT?!?!?

  9. Maybe Baby Xander isn't opposed to the pool, just opposed to outdoor pools that aren't heated. Or maybe he's opposed to sharing what he considers bath time with a bunch of Vegas strangers. Yeah. That's probably it.

  10. @ Michael: see my next post of an answer to you. Or I could just say we had a couple of good meals, but nothing too swanky, and the only show we could swing was XMen. It's hard to maneuver with a small child.

    @ Candice: You're not insane. My girls had lessons early and we plan the same for Xander.

    @ Chanel: What's strange is that we totally expected Vegas in June to be hot hot hot and it just wasn't. It was in the 90s I guess, but where we were and with the cool pool water, it was just cold and not very refreshing. Not what we expected from a Vegas trip.

  11. You need a T-shirt that says "I Went to Vegas and All I Did Was Introduce My Child to Water."

    But seriously, though, if I went to Vegas, I wouldn't even have the whole having-a-child thing as an excuse and I'd STILL stay by the hotel pool. Casinos? Pricy cocktails? Wildly extravagant boutiques I can't afford? Bah. Give me a good palm tree-studded pool any day.

    (I still secretly want to go to Vegas someday, so color me jealous)

  12. It surprises me when people (mostly from the East Coast) say they've never been to Vegas. Around here, it's a pretty common destination, at least once for most people. It's worth seeing once. That's probably enough.