Saturday, June 21, 2014

Two not-so-scary stories

At the beginning of this sickness I knew things were going downhill fast when I lost Benjamin at the pool. Now, I'm a fairly scatterbrained individual.

My twenty-year-old self is laughing at me right now for admitting that because I used to be able to function without having to write everything down...multiple places...and still wind up forgetting about things. My twenty-nine-year-old self is laughing at me then for thinking I'd be one to emerge from motherhood with my mind intact.

However, I was also a lifeguard for a few years (back when my brain worked) and I know that losing track of children at a pool is a huge no-no. I'm a little more paranoid, a little less chat-at-the-table-with-a-friend-while-my-three-year-old-with-water-wings-does-his-or-her-best-to-survive than a lot of parents that frequent our neighbourhood pool.

I find myself scanning, counting children, checking the bottom for lifeless bodies, making sure kids come up for breath, noting when children leave, making sure "that thing" isn't fecal matter, clearing the pool for thunder. I can't even help it.

So, we'd arrived at the pool. I had Benjamin sitting on my left hip with my left arm around him. I had both pool bags slung on my right shoulder. I think I was carrying a towel or two. And maybe a kick board. And probably something else. Because I'm an octopus. Or so my kids think—and they always wonder why I never want to walk to the pool. Silly kids; octopuses can't walk.

I had to sign in at the front so I set down the two pool bags. Then I noted where the three children (Rachel and two friends—Miriam was at a doctor appointment for not-strep) of various swimming abilities scattered (one swimmer hopped in the deep end while one drowner hopped on the deck by the stairs in the shallow end begging to get in, and the other swimmer walked in circles around me). I talked with my friend for a minute about swimming lessons (that's why we were there) and then in the middle of a sentence I realized I had no idea where Benjamin was.

"Oh, no! Where's Benjamin?!" I gasped, scanning the deck for my precious little boy and not seeing his little (but proportionally huge) towhead anywhere..

"Ummmm...." my friend said. She pointed to the left of me. I spun around.

"Where'd he go?" I asked. He wasn't behind me.

"You're still holding him!" she laughed.

And as I stood there overcome at once with relief and embarrassment my friend did her best to make me feel better.

"It's just like they're a part of you sometimes, isn't it? Sometimes you can't even tell you're holding them anymore."

This friend, you should know, has been in that same panic-inducing situation only she wasn't holding her baby. Her baby (who is now seven years old) was in the middle of a lake, floating on his back like a boss, which is incredible considering all her kids are sinkers. Their natural "floating point" is about a foot under water. As their swimming instructor I know this very well. The fact that she has a seven year old today is a miracle.

The fact that Andrew is still alive today is also a miracle. He's been at scout camp for the past couple of days and was due to come home today. I didn't know when he'd be coming home, exactly, but I figured he'd be a while at least, so I prepared to face the day alone with the kids.

I got up and showered with Benjamin (who showers whenever anyone showers, basically—he loves showering), wrapped up in a towel, and walked to Benjamin's room to find some underwear for him before getting dressed. The girls were happily eating breakfast together.

I opened Benjamin's drawer and pulled out a pair of bedraggled underwear (that we bought in Egypt for Rachel...and which Miriam subsequently also wore...but we just can't find tiny enough underwear stateside so he will wear it until he's big enough for 2T), I turned around and closed the dresser drawer.

Then I dropped the underwear and nearly dropped Benjamin and my towel—but managed to keep a grip on both of them—and screamed!

There was a man standing in Benjamin's doorway.

"Um, hi?" the man said.

"Oh, it's you! When did you get home?" I gasped as I abandoned my search for a weapon (note for the zombie apocalypse: weapons are really, really difficult to locate in a toddler's bedroom).

The man was Andrew, as you probably guessed, and I was about to go all Xena: Warrior Princess on him. Instead I just said, "You scared the living daylights out of me!"

"I didn't mean to," he said. "I was just standing here all innocently. I thought you knew I was home."

"I just got out of the shower," I pointed out. "I don't have my glasses on. You weren't in the house when I walked through it a minute ago."

"I was in the kids' bathroom," he said.

"I was brainstorming ways to seriously injure you," I said.

Fortunately, no one was harmed in the inspiration for this blog post.


  1. Very funny, especially that last one! I think Jeremy surprised me in the kitchen once and I was actually holding a knife at the time. He is a lucky man that I didn't stab him! :)