Monday, August 4, 2014
Other People's Children at the Hotel Pool: Lessons in Hypocrisy
The seven-year-old girl with the bobbed hair had something else in mind. While her parents swam in the deep end of the adjacent pool, this little sprite sat curled up on the steps of the hot oasis a few feet away from me.
At first it was just a trickle of water I felt dance across my nose. I turned, and she smiled at me, swirling her hand in the water.
Kids will be kids, I thought just as her older sister hurled a soggy hockey sock at us, the ball landing with a plop in the water.
I looked for the parents, who were engaged in some sort of tickle fest in the deep end. Maybe they had just finished a long drive and were trying to ignore their children. I was doing the same thing, of course, but my children were swimming laps with olympic form, nary a splash from their toes.
Eventually, the hockey sock flew past me in the other direction. I closed my eyes.
A few seconds later, water again on my face and dripping from my hair. This was no mistake.
“I do not want to get wet,” I said with a smile to the child in my irritated-patient voice, fully aware that most of my body was submerged in water. Surely the kid understood the subtleties of what I meant: I was wearing a pony-tail.
I glanced back at the parents. The mother was occupied in a snorkel-like float on her belly, but there were no tropical fish in this pool. She knew what was up.
I sighed and watched my girls.
An older couple got in the whirlpool, sipping from cold drinks. They probably thought they were going to get to relax.
Two other kids hoped in. I took a quick scan at the rules posted by the steps. You can’t use the facilities if you’re drunk or using drugs, but being under the age of 8 is apparently just fine.
Trickle, trickle. Water from the fountain of youth once again. I closed my eyes, deciding to take a cue from the mom and ignore the child. It was probably now time to get out. I was fully cooked, sweating, actually, in the way you do when you’re in 104-degree water, but there was no way I was leaving the whirlpool before the kid.
The next attack was not really a trickle; it was a full force assault. Water, scooped with her tiny hands and tossed right at me. It had all the deliberate force of a snowball fight.
No more Miss Manners.
“When I tell you I don’t want to get wet,” I said, looking the child in the eyes, “why do you still throw water on me?”
The kid didn’t say anything, consistent with her ways.
The other kids began tossing an inflatable ball around. I gave it another minute or two and then got out, wrapped myself up in a towel and sat in a chair, still hot from the soak.
The sound of screams, splashes and some laughs as the balls and hockey socks were thrown around the tiny indoor pool in the underbelly of the historic hotel in the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson.
We'd be going to dinner in a few hours, and if the karma of parenthood held, we'd become the subject of another parent's gripe you read about it in a blog somewhere.
With this road trip and soon summer coming to an end, I hope to return to writing LBM more frequently. Thanks to all my kind and loyal readers. And to those who have joined me over at the additional blog I write, The Educated Mom. Education--it's not just for parents!