Today my DD and DS1, the twins, attended a birthday pool party. Generally, I do not like pool parties. The control freak in me panics. Too many kids in water at the same time. No lifeguard. Parents standing around chit chatting. Kids doing cannonball jumps and flips. Throw in a lot of inflatable attractions…..a bouncy castle with a slide leading directly to the deep end of the pool, dinghys, and ‘blown to bursting’ animal figures…..On top of that again, add a bunch of overexcited 6-7 year olds running (despite repeated requests from every parent not to run) around the sodden, slippery tiles by the pool, jumping in as and when and they felt like it…….
Today’s pool party was the first I have attended where it was not required that I join my munchkins to be their safety net. They are both good swimmers, see the water as an amazingly exciting friend, and scoff at my attempts to reinforce ‘water safety’ rules. I left DS2 with DH. If I had taken him to the party, I would have been in the pool for the entire time, trying to dissuade him from mimicking DS1’s kamikaze flips from the bouncy castle!
The last party to which I took my children saw me spend 99% of my time in the pool, pulling out one or the other of them to help them out of the deeper parts of the pool, or free them from under the large inflatables.
Today, as I stood there talking to another Mum, my head jerking towards the water for what felt like every 5 seconds, I realised something: Yes, I am a control freak. Nothing new there. But, I also realised that as my first ‘borns’ are twins, I have always considered the simultaneous safety of two. As I write this, I hear parents of more than one sighing ‘Yeah and????’ I appreciate that. Going from 1 to 2 presents its challenges, but having 2 from the ‘get go’, is quite something else.
My twins were the kind that ‘give them their freedom’, they would be off in polar opposite directions. They were serious climbers before they could walk. A trip to the playground saw me standing midway between the two as they clumsily clambered on the rusty, rickety rides in a damp Surrey school playground. As I stood there, my head moving from side to side as if I were watching a tennis match, I remember thinking, and trying to gauge the level of danger for each, ‘who should I run to first should they both need me at the same time?’ ‘Could I reach both if I need to?’ During that time of motherhood I believe my peripheral vision and 6th sense of ‘whereabouts’ increased significantly. This 6th sense has not left me.
To this day, that is how I react when I am with my kids. I scan all the time. I am always on the lookout. I cannot relax.
Today’s pool party was a mega success for the birthday girl and my 2. But Mummy is still trying to decide if it was the heat or the ‘security watch’ that has left her feeling so exhausted.