Personal space? What’s that? (Community Pool Edition)


(Note: Photo above not an accurate depiction of today.)


Against my better judgement, I took my children to the pool late this afternoon on one of the first hot days of the year. I knew it was going to be crowded. I like people, – but only in small doses. I grew up an only child (if that helps explain anything).

I knew this wouldn’t be fun for me, but they kids really wanted to go.

“C’mon mom! let’s go!”My 5 year-old daughter yelled as I slowly dragged myself out of the driver’s seat. I don’t know why, but I was holding onto the slim hope that all of the children in the neighborhood would be working on school projects this afternoon. Maybe, there was a church bbq that everyone was attending. Maybe, just maybe, since it was such a nice day-all of them were at the beach instead.

My hopes were crushed as soon as we parked and got out of the van-I could hear the screaming and splashing already in the parking lot. It most certainly was crowded.

We had arrived at the pool, and luckily found an available chair. “Mom get in!” My daughter L, demanded. She was so happy grinning from ear to ear. This is why I brought them here, I reassured my-extremely uncomfortable around all these people, self.

“Mommy just wants to watch you guys. I love just watching.” I said in an awkward way. I had my bathing suit on. I was sitting directly in front of the pool literally 5 feet away from my kids. They had their floaties on and I would be in the pool in less than a second if I needed to “rescue” them. I really had no desire to get in the pool myself.

I watched as two large families were leaving. “Ok, good. It looks like some people are starting to leave. Maybe everyone will start leaving….” I daydreamed. I pictured everyone needing to hurry home to cook dinner. Unfortunately reality smacked me in the face as 25 more people entered through the pool gate.

“Ugh! Who has a family that big? Seriously? Did they invite their second and third cousins to the pool?” I silently glared at them through my sunglasses. “That’s another several gallons of pee to add to the pool….”I thought to myself. Eww. (Don’t worry, baths will follow).

My kids were laughing and splashing around near the steps of the pool, with the rest of the younger kids. I accepted my fate, that it most likely would be annoyingly crowded the whole time we were here, so I tried to relax. “At least they’re having fun,” I reasoned with myself.

I watched my son gravitate towards two older boys. “What is he doing? Leave them alone. Leave them alone! Go back to the stairs.” Unfortunately he didn’t respond to my telepathic message I was trying to send him. I was going to have to get out of my chair.

“J! Come here please.” He turned around a started towards the stairs.

“Mommy, did you see? They have a sword!” My 4 year-old son said wide-eyed and obviously entranced by their foam weaponry. Little did he know that if one of those 11 year olds so much as grazed my son’s shoulder with their “swords”, their parents would get an earful from yours truly, “mama bear.”

Now hang on a second-before you rush to the defense of the innocent young men, I had no immediate “beef” with them. So far, they had done nothing wrong. I just needed to keep it that way. If there’s one thing I loathe, it’s confrontation. One day my son will be 11. There’s nothing wrong with some pre-teens playing around in the pool. Let it be known that  I wasn’t trying to “hate on them.”

“I saw, J. I need you to stay by the stairs with Sissy. They are big kids. I want you to stay near Mommy.” I reasoned with him. “Ok. I’ll be a shark! Sissy! I’m a shark!” He started clicking his teeth in a shark manner, going after his sister.

Phew. I sat back down, and looked at my phone for only a split second-to check the time. Apparently he lost interest in Sissy because when I lifted my head up, I saw my son following another older boy around. He was literally inches away from this kids face, making a shark noise. The older boy in question looked annoyed, but he had manners. His parents successfully must have taught him how to act around younger kids. He politely asked J, to stop. J did not stop. He got louder.

“J! Stop doing that.” J stopped for a second and looked at me. “I’m a shark mommy!” The older boy made a swift exit to the other end of the pool, while J took a moment to respond to my request. “Awww, Mommy! This fishy got away!” J looked crushed. “Buddy, pretend Sissy is a fish.” He lit again. “Sissy! I’m gonna get you!” My daughter was floating on her pool noodle also following another little girl. Every kid in this pool seemed to disregard personal space. I watched several kids collide mid-swim, and splash each other in the face.

“NO. I am a mermaid. J, don’t follow me.” She declared while floating in the other direction.

“Mommy! Oh….look. I can do a trick.” J said as he grabbed onto the handrail leading down the steps of the pool. He started to climb it.

“J, that’s not a good idea. Can you swim for me? I want to get a picture of you swimming with your floaties for Daddy to see!” I asked, hoping my request would be accepted the first time I asked.

“Ok, Mommy, get ready!” He said.

I pulled out my phone. It took me a second to get the camera to focus, since it hasn’t been working correctly lately.

Three seconds later when the camera was ready, I looked up and to my horror, I saw my daughter pushing my son under water! Now, she is only 5. She does however understand, that pushing people-especially your brother-under water, is a HUGE NO-NO.

I jumped off of my chair, and into the pool at lightning speed (almost). “L!!!!!! What are you doing???? I yelled. My son was now above water. It only happened for about second. He was crying, understandably. “But Mommy! That boy was trying to splash J! I was trying to get him out of the way!” She reasoned with me. She pointed to one of the 11 year olds with the “sword” from earlier.

“Are you ok, J???” I asked, still a bit panicked.

“Yes…I want to go hoooooooommmme!” He wailed.


That was it. We packed up out things and left. I had to keep reminding myself that my daughter is only 5. In her mind, at that moment, she thought she was “helping” by getting J out of the way of the splashing from the older boy……She’s 5.


This will be a story we will laugh about later, when they’re older.








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