Wading Pool Etiquette?

A reader writes in regarding the wading pool at Wallingford Playfield:

I was wondering if there was some sort of etiquette lesson you could provide regarding the wading pool? I feel a bit clueless. My baby recently became a toddler and we’ve been there several times now, and I can’t help but feel that we are getting the cold shoulder and/or evil eye at times. Perhaps we are ignorantly breaking some code of wading pool conduct. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

A fine question! We’re assuming you know the basic rules, such as No “Bare Buns” (bathing suit attire required, babies must wear tight plastic pants or diapers designed for swimming), No spots (people with communicable diseases are not allowed in the pool), No fidos (dogs, cats, etc.), No bikes, No water fights and No drugs or alcohol. But is there some “unwritten” rule set that you are perhaps unaware?

Without actually observing you and your toddler at play, it’s difficult for us to say for sure, but we will offer a set of guidelines for behavior that, should you find yourself deviating from them, might be the source of your social pariah-hood:

  • No Wake: floaties and toy boats are allowed, but if you using anything capable of towing a human being, such as a Moomba Mobius XLV, you’re probably being inconsiderate of fellow bathers. Basic rule of thumb: if you know much horsepower it has, it’s too much.
  • No “Bare Busts”: While Wallyhood is open-minded, and we have enjoyed our fair share of time on European and American “clothing optional” beaches, this is Wallingford, not Ipanema. Moms, this means you. Actually, some of you dads, too.
  • No Bumpin‘: We know, we know: hot summer day, cool water, something to drink, what’s it missing? Tunes! Big phat tunes, ska, skunkin’ funk, dubstep, disco and trance, you want to hear and you want to hear it loud. Well, that’s what they make headphones for. Basic rule of thumb: if you have to make two trips to the car, your sound system is too big.
  • No Fishing: Really people, what would you catch?

What have you missed?

And does anyone have any advice or anecdotes that might actually help our plaintive reader (who really did write in with the question)?

  1. Julian said,

    No bubbles. Even if, especially if they’re “all-natural” …

    No dumping. Put your used motor oil down the street drain, where it belongs.

    No bonfires in the dry season.

    No open containers. Even if it’s in a brown bag.

    No looking at the children in the pool. People might think you’re sketchy. Didn’t you hear about the predator house up the street? *Listen* for your child while in the pool.

    Thu, August 20 at 9:41 am
  2. DOUG. said,

    What’s your stance on snorkeling?

    Thu, August 20 at 11:40 am
  3. MyGreenLake said,

    Today at the Green Lake wading pool we saw a girl (3-4 years old) pinning a younger boy under the water. DON’T DO THAT.
    From all the mommies involved it appeared they weren’t siblings (not that that makes it OK).

    Thu, August 20 at 6:14 pm
  4. Chris said,

    Just checking – I assume you didn’t mean your “No bare busts” rule to apply to breastfeeding. Right? That should surely be okay anywhere.

    Thu, August 20 at 9:35 pm
  5. Wallyhood said,

    @Chris Certainly not. No dads breastfeeding, though, right? :)

    @Doug Is that a euphemism?

    Fri, August 21 at 12:09 am
  6. Scott said,

    Swim diapers for the little ones (checked regularly for contents)

    Fri, August 21 at 11:25 am
  7. harley said,

    so, psy-trance is ok? see you at the pool next summer 😉

    Fri, August 21 at 11:33 am
  8. Jay said,

    @Julia “No dumping. Put your used motor oil down the street drain, where it belongs.”

    You are kidding….. right? Used motor oil should NEVER go down the street drain. Every auto part store I’ve been to accepts used motor oil to recycle it. DON’T KILL THE FISH PLEASE!

    Fri, August 21 at 11:52 am
  9. Karen said,

    @Jay “You are kidding, right?…” I think Jay was just being funny, but thank you for noting that for those of us more literal folks out there…

    Fri, August 21 at 4:45 pm
  10. jenny said,

    And here’s one I saw posted at a group campsite at a State Park:

    No Hay Bales. Probably applies here as well.

    Seriously, sometimes wading pools are a bit of a chore for us parents – we don’t get to cool off much, still need to change and dress soaking kids and haul all those various toys. Sometimes I’d rather be poolside with a pina colada and a handsome pool attendant fanning me with a palm leaf. Some of the cold-shoulder you may be experiencing could be just hot grumpy parents who are not in the mood to chat. Don’t take it personally!

    Sat, August 22 at 8:48 am
  11. Padme said,

    > Dear Wallyhood,

    > I was hanging out in Wallingford, and folks were cold and actively
    > disinterested in me.

    Welcome to Wallingford!

    Sat, August 22 at 9:33 pm
  12. Jenny said,

    See if a toy belongs to someone nearby who might not want to share before playing with it is the rule toddlers seem to have the hardest time with. In our experience, though, there have always been plenty of unclaimed toys around and parents happy to loan them while their kid’s busy playing with something else. Come to think of it, bringing an armload of toys to share might be a good way to break the ice with the standoffish mommies and daddies.

    Sun, August 23 at 2:50 am
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