Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stupid Threats Moms Make

So there we were, at the Embassy Fourth of July party, which was open to all American and local employees and family members. The girls were in the pool, but the hijab-to-bikini ratio was not working in my favor, so I opted to stay dressed and poolside.

Ainsley decided to jump into the pool without looking first, and she landed smack on top of another little girl, who had to be pulled, crying and sputtering, out of the pool.

I made sure the other girl was okay, and then turned my stern mom voice on her.

Ainsley, I said, we never jump without looking. That's dangerous. You need to apologize to that little girl.

No, said Ainsley, as she floated on her back toward the middle of the pool.

This obviously infuriated me, and I told her to get out, now.

No, she said again.

Ainsley, I said, aware that approximately 40,000 eyes were glued on our little scene, you come here right now.

No response.

Ainsley. If I have to put on my swim suit and come in there to get you, I promise you will be in big, big, BIG trouble.

No response.

One, I counted.

Two, I counted.

I marched over to the tables and retrieved my suit from the swim bag, hoping this would clue her in that I was serious.

Ainsley, I said. Come. Here. Now.

No response.

And with that, my fate was sealed. The 40,000 eyes waited and watched, wondering if I would follow through on my stupid, stupid threat. Ainsley floated serenely. I stormed off to the locker room and threw on my suit - no cover-up or towel, because I hadn't thought this plan through, obviously. I stormed back out, past the hijab-clad locals, past the 20-something Peace Corps volunteers, past the appalled colleagues, and jumped into the deep end with no thought to hair or make-up.

It's hard to tow a 3-year-old to shore when she doesn't want to go. But I managed to throw her out of the pool, and then I carried her, kicking and screaming, all the way across the pool deck to our table - conveniently located between two hijab-full tables of Jordanian families.

Ainsley screamed while I dried off and thought about what other non-embarrassing threat I might have better employed. None came to mind.

A lifeguard approached.

You know, he told me, gesturing toward the rescue rings and hooks hanging all around the pool, the next time you have to pull her out, we can just use one of those.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. I'll try to post pictures of our Embassy event shortly. You'll especially love the action shots of the RSO in the dunk tank.


Dorothy Handelman said... [Reply]

Isn't parenthood fun? As mothers, it is difficult to maintain credibility with the way kids can pushback. Making good on what you intend can make an incredible impression and I found my other children understood the gravity of the moment very well and straightened up pronto as a result. Sorry you felt so awkward with the spectacle of the other guests and having to change your suit et al, but kudos to you for doing it.

Nomads By Nature said... [Reply]

Good on you!

Bfiles said... [Reply]

oh, that could so be a scene played out at our house. good for you for following through. so many parents don't!

DARKT_MAC said... [Reply]

I have been a Lifeguard for many years, and I have seen parents do exactly the same thing and always supported their right to do so. Using the hook would have been a bit more embarrassing but the fact that you waded in after her should have phenomenal impact. I should add that I have three girls and begin my A-100 class in Sept. so may have similar experiences in my future.

Heather Dray said... [Reply]

Absolutely brilliant. Good Momma move! Totally appreciate this, and the surrounding picture you so well describe.

Jill said... [Reply]

You just hit upon my BIGGEST peeve in parenting. The not-followed-up-on-threats. Of course, it's ALWAYS worse in public ....

Me? I say what I mean and I mean what I say ... and boy do my girlies go berserk.

Hooray for holding strong!!!

Delhibound said... [Reply]

oh lord -- this had me smiling the whole way through! I also can't stand the threats that aren't followed up on (but I do it myself - I have to admit).

Love that you didn't think through the coverup or towel!

Z. Marie said... [Reply]

I knew there was a reason I never learned to swim ...

Sherwood family said... [Reply]

As the mom of one three year-old to another, I feel your pain. Good for you for following up!

Sadie said... [Reply]

Nice one! Way to follow through; Ainsley won't soon forget this lesson... insha'allah.

Becca said... [Reply]

Go follow- through!

Kelly said... [Reply]

Oh Lordy, been there, done that! Not in a non-bikini country though. Thanks for the laugh--hope you can laugh about it by now!

Daniela Swider said... [Reply]

Well, Ainsley did what kids her age do - push their boundaries. And you did what a good mom should - show your kid in no uncertain terms when they have crossed a line. Been there hoping the kid would back down before you have to do something drastic but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Of course, there's a bit more drama when it happens in public but you stood your ground and that's great. Ainsley will respect you more for it. Good for you!

Connie said... [Reply]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Connie said... [Reply]

(I should not type and talk to someone else at the same time... :p ... try again)

I have no idea who came up with the 'terrible 2's concept because I didn't see it at all - 3 is the toughest age, but of course, you know that ;) and you handled it like the pro you are! Sorry I wasn't there to help out with 'towel support'. We'll be back soon and I have a feeling that we'll be at the pool a lot!

Smallbits said... [Reply]

You are awesome.

Lynne said... [Reply]

I could totally see me doing exactly that. I always try to run through the possible threats before I verbalize one, to be sure I can back it up. It's AWESOME that you did that. Did the lifeguard explain how exactly you could hook or bouy a child who didn't want to come out of the water? I can't see you had any other options.

Elaine said... [Reply]

Oh, been there, done that! Now that Laura is a lovely 30-something, no one would believe what a challenging child she was--hyperactive, stubborn, bright, and determined. (She has a PhD to prove it.) BUT back THEN, I would cheerfully have throttled her, except for the witnesses. Here is what I learned:

NO warnings. Tell her once, then physically interrupt the misbehavior. Every. Single. Time. (No roughness necessary, in case you wondered.)

Talk about it when she is calm, even if you use words she can't understand.

Have a martini after the kids are in bed. Ha, ha, I just made that up, but wish I had thought of it then!

Please. Write your own stuff.