“HEY!” Declan yelled and shot up in the water, “He HIT me!”
“No he didn’t, Declan. He was just getting his swim toy. You are okay.”
“I was just swimmin’ here and he HIT me!”
“You are okay.” I reassured.
“Sorry, little buddy,” I said to a bewildered pair of goggles that darted back and forth between Declan and myself, “You are good – it is all okay.”
And off the goggles ran/swam away to rejoin his friends and continue his game of dart diving.
Declan, no longer focused on the shock of being run into, resumed his position of floating in the pool.
And I resumed my position on the mom perch, and continued to watch him swim.
On most days, I am the mom taxi to the kids. To camps, to practices, to games.
If I am not driving all over the county, I find the time to get Declan, and any other kid in tow, to our local pool.
Declan loves the pool. So, I sit on my mom perch and watch, or play with him in the pool. My perch is on the long brown bench in between the baby pool and big pool. On the right-hand side. It bakes in the sun when I am not sitting on it. So, I usually bring a towel to soften the burn of the sit.
When you sit on a mom perch for as long as I do, you watch a lot. You watch your kids and you watch the kids of the moms lounging in conversations behind you.
For me, I watch Declan jump in
Well, sort of socialize.
I must give the boy credit. He tries. He approaches the girls too closely. He doesn’t speak, just smiles inches from their face. If I am not looking I will turn back to see him touching their “OMG” faces. Only to then be discouraged from touching friends.
When he asks a girl,
“Can I be your friend?”
She pulls back her head to say,
“No. I do not know you.”
And off she will swim away.
Not that one statement stops him. He tries again and again until I can literally pull him away and distract him.
Sometimes he sees the boys play and tries to jump into their games. Awkwardly. He takes their toy or jumps on their pool float with them. The boys look bewildered at the stranger that just jumped onto their float. Declan gives a big goofy smile and shakes his head. Their game looks like FUN! But he is pushed off the float and told to go away. Which only makes his smile disappear and begins his delivery of pinches and pushes to the boy and his float.
Until I can come in, get him off the boy and distract him.
I don’t get mad at the other kids. Declan can come off as being a little odd. Some are willing to overlook the initial odd. They allow Declan to join and let him play.
They’re just the awesome ones.
They are the ones that I love to play with, too. They let Declan join their games or will even play Spiderman with him. Sometimes, I can return to my mom perch on the sun-baked long brown bench on the right-hand side –
Filled with hope and happiness watching Declan play with other kids.