Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Of mermaids and mothers

Yesterday, the Denizens went for their first {drumroll please} swimming lesson!

Yes, that’s right, the Den of Chaos descended en masse to the local watering hole, where they were greeted by a swarm of very young, ridiculously perky nubiles (all of whom looked to be about 15 to me) who assured me that they were, in fact, the instructors.

Hoooookay. I mean, I think the pair of shoes I was wearing at that moment were older than most of the ‘instructors’, but then again I’m getting to a point where I see kids working at McD’s that I’d swear should be in middle school – so I took their word for it.

So. I have a three year old, a five year old, and a seven year old, plus of course Bacon Bit in his stroller – none of whom know the first thing about how to swim. I walk up to the perky young thing doing check in and announce that the Horde has arrived, and where does she want them?

Two on one side of the pool, the other on the other.

Oh…dear. Suddenly that pool yawned like Lake Michigan. You could barely even see the far shore, it was so wide…how was I going to manage all three of them over such a distance?!

So I showed the older two where they were to sit and wait for their teacher, then walked Boo Bug over and set her down where her class was to begin.

Shouted across the pool to Eldest and Danger Mouse, “No running!”

Told Boo Bug to just sit and wait for her teacher.


Told Boo Bug to get out of the water, just sit here, and wait for your…


Told Boo Bug that if she didn’t quit trying to drown herself, we were going home. Sit. Right there, sit. Wait. Or else.

“HEY! Sit down and wait for your teacher! Do not mess around that diving board! SIT!!”

(By the way, this was not just my kids being horrible – all the kids were milling and running and shoving and otherwise doing all the things they weren’t supposed to do – I was just apparently the only mom there who wasn’t too busy with the ‘oh hi, how ARE you, how’s your cat, how’s your hubby, how’s the minivan treating you’ routine to actually monitor what the kids were up to during that period before the instructors got into the pool and started organizing things.) (And I have no sympathy whatsoever for the kid who got shoved into the deep end and got the scare of her life when her face actually went {gasp!} underwater. I was watching. She was actually one of the main instigators of the shoving match, was being outright nasty to kids that wanted nothing to do with her and her shoving game, and dammit, she deserved that dunking. “He pushed me FOR NO REASON” my foot!)

Eventually the instructors jumped into the pool and began taking charge of the children. Very capably, I must admit. And I stood at the edge of the pool with Bacon Bit in my arms, hollering things like, “Danger Mouse! Don’t splash your teacher! Eldest! Stop goofing off! Tell her you’re seven! Boo Bug! Listen to your teacher! Listen! Listen to her! Listen to her and do what she says right now or I swear I’m hauling you outta there and we’re going home!!

Suddenly, with a sickening thud, it occurred to me that I was micromanaging my children way more than was strictly speaking necessary. Hello, this is supposed to be fun. The instructors were adept at getting shy and/or scared kids into the water. There were about eight instructors to handle twenty kids, ranging in skill from zip to kids who actually knew how to move around in the water without drowning, plus two other solemn looking adults who sat on high in the lifeguard chairs watching.

I think…they’ve got it covered.

I suspect…if my kids get way out of line, they’ll toss them out.

I suppose…I could just park my butt on the grass with Bacon Bit, flip through my magazine and just…let them…do their thing.

I sat. I opened my magazine and ran one eyeball over it while watching the pool with the other (which is no mean feat). Bacon Bit made the acquaintance of another boy about his same age. They compared notes, bonked their heads together, laughed over it, poked each other in the eye a couple times and had a marvelous time. Bacon Bit pulled Eldest’s fake-grass skirt out from the base of the stroller to share, then took away my magazine and shared that, as well. Other Boy was duly impressed with the Oriental Trading magazine. Bright colors and all, you know. So they tore up a few pages, ate part of an ad for 4th of July hats and called it a day.

Then suddenly, the “all out” alert was sounded and three shivering, soaking mermaids ran to me shrieking and giggling.

“That was great!” “Did you see me? Did you see me in the water?!” “Look, I can hold my nose!” “Mommy!” “Are we coming here tomorrow?” “I can put my whole head under water!!” “Mommy!” “Mommy!” “MOMMMMMMEEEEEE!”

I know I’m not the only mom out there who has control issues. It’s hard for me to believe that anybody else can manage my Denizens; even harder to accept that by golly they can manage themselves. That without my constant nagging and harping and carrying on, they could manage to be charming and well-behaved children seems inconceivable.

But they can, and they did, and they had a marvelous time. Without a whole lot of input from me, too.

A tiny step toward Someday, when they’ll unfurl those wings and fly off without me, leaving me standing on my porch hollering after them, “…and don’t forget to wear a sweater! …take your vitamins!…and…!”

1 comment:

Myownigloo said...

Good job, Mom!