Can someone please tell me HOW one mother is supposed to keep track of 3 kids at a crowded swim club? I know, you moms out there with 5 and 6 and 7 kids are like, “Get a life. Three’s nuttin!” But this mother-of-three thing is taking all the mental faculties I have left.
I just spent the afternoon at the pool with a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 10-month-old. It’s enough of a challenge to keep Rebecca upright in the water. She loves to sit in the shallowest part of the pool and scoot around on her bottom, and she isn’t one bit afraid of the water. Every few minutes, she purposefully launches herself face-down into the water without warning. I have to be constantly on my guard; I cannot take my eyes off of her for a second.
My 3-year-old stays pretty close to me for the most part; she’s just like that. But she still needs some supervision so she doesn’t go out too far.
My son is almost 7, and he is not the least bit interested in hanging out in six inches of water with his mother and little sisters. I do give him some freedom, but our swim club is quite large. And while I can usually locate him pretty quickly when I start looking around, there are always those few moments of angst until I catch sight of him again — some longer than others. Today was a doozie.
I realized I hadn’t seen him in a while, so I started scanning the pool. He doesn’t exactly stand out — just another sandy-haired boy with a tanned torso and navy swim trunks. So I looked and looked, and I didn’t see him. I probably spent four or five minutes looking.
Then my mind started to go down That Road. It would only take a second, really, for him to get in over his head. It happens, right? He’s certainly not a strong swimmer, and although he seems to know is limits, he’s just a kid. I started to get worked up. I need to find him. He has to be SOME where.
Then another chilling thought crossed my mind. This is the perfect place for a predator to grab a kid! What if some sick-o talks him into coming with him, taking him to his mom, or something like that? What if someone has walked off with my son? It’s crowded. And even if he threw a fit, no one would notice another child pitching a fit, not wanting to go home!
That Tom Cruise movie where he lost his son at a swimming pool haunts me.
I was getting anxious. I need to find him. Now. It’s been too long. Then, just before I got up to have him paged on the intercom, I spotted him walking nonchalantly out of the bathroom, completely oblivious to the fact that my heart had stopped momentarily and I had five new gray hairs on my head.
I resisted the urge to scream, “WHAT. ON. EARTH. AILS. YOUR. HEAD. TAKING. OFF. TO. THE. BATHROOM. WITHOUT. TELLING. ME!!???” as he said happily, “Hi mom,” and jumped into the pool.
I breathed a little sigh of relief and tried to quell the drama queen inside. He really didn’t know better. It’s my fault that we hadn’t discussed it. He usually tells me what he’s doing. I guess he’s getting a little TOO independent.
I decided to have a little chat later that night and set some ground rules for the pool. After I calmed down a little. And had a couple margaritas.