Yesterday I took all 7 kids to the town beach. Even with my dad there to help, keeping track of everyone was a challenge. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are fairly easy. But Number 4, 5, 6,and 7 take some work. 5 and 6 can’t swim and need you right there with them, and Number 7 needs to be held.
Number 4, well, she can swim, but she may just be the toughest of them all.
The town beach is at the lake where swim team also practices. The team practices in a 25-yard pool made from 2 docks attached by 7 lane lines. The shallower area between the makeshift pool and the shore is where group swim lessons are taught. Then there is a dock about 40 yards out with a diving board on it, and there is a nice sized roped off swimming area.
Number 4 has a tendency to wander without letting you know where she is going, so yesterday I had at least 5 where-the-hell-is-Number 4 panic-stricken episodes.
First, she asked if she could swim out to the dock. I went over and asked the lifeguard if there was a test you had to pass to swim out to it.
And she said, “Yes.”
So I said, “What is it?”
And she said, “You have to be able to swim out to the dock to swim out to the dock.”
So before I even turned around to tell Number 4, she was already halfway out there. That time was fine, but the time she swam out without telling me, um, not so much.
Another time she was way down the beach playing with a random boy. She was as close to the end of the beach as you can be. We were sitting near the opposite side, and yesterday it was over 90 degrees and pretty crowded, so it really took me a while to find her.
I walked over and got her.
“Number 4, you can’t be this far away from me. I had no idea where you were. Come back closer to where we are.”
“But Mom, he’s my best friend!”
“You just met him 5 minutes ago. Let’s go.”
Then she went over to the “pool.” It was the older kids practice time, and it was game day yesterday. They were playing “swim baseball”, and Number 3 and 4 asked if they could go play. I watched them get the ok from the coaches, watched Number 3 get a good hit, and watched Number 4 swing about 400 times without touching the ball before they finally told her her turn was over.
Then I took my eyes off them. I was sitting in the water, playing with Number 7. A couple minutes later, when I looked back over to the swim team, I saw Number 3, but not Number 4. I walked over so I could see past the dock into the water where the swimmers were. I didn’t see Number 4 in the water. I yelled out to the coaches but they said she wasn’t there. Now they were searching for her too.
I had become that parent. AGAIN.
I looked out to the dock with the diving board.
No Number 4.
Panic setting in.
I looked over to where her new boyfriend was.
Seriously panicking now. I was carrying Number 7, rushing around and starting to look like a real crazy woman.
Number 5 was following me and crying.
“Mommy, I want to hold your hand. Mommy, I want to swim with you. Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyy!!!”
“LEAVE ME ALONE! I HAVE TO FIND NUMBER 4!!!!”
I was about to lose it, and then my dad found her.
Taking a group swim lesson.
It was Friday yesterday, so it was the 5th day of this session of lessons.
How she managed to insert herself into a well-established group without getting kicked out I don’t know, but I think I may have stumbled upon a talent that could potentially save me lots of money.