I see you. I see you there on your phone. Watching your child while he swims talking loudly about the “new kid” in class.
The new kid who you didn’t meet the first week because you were a no show for class. The new kid who loved his very first week of class. The new kid who jumped in feet first, put goggles on, and put his head clear under the water and came up laughing.
The new kid.
The new kid your kid caused injury to the following week because he was being a typical toddler. Acting out. Misbehaving. Because he’s two.
No one really saw what happened. It doesn’t really matter. It was an accident.
I see you. Rolling your eyes. I hear you talking about how the new kid is afraid of the water now. How he won’t stop crying and how embarrassing it is.
I see you staring at me. Snickering into your phone.
I know you see me.
Staring at my terrified child. Crying his head off. Yelling for his mommy. Trying so hard to not lose my cool and burst into tears. Wanting to rush into the pool area and snatch him out of the water. Save him.
But I don’t.
I let him cry. Cry it out.
There you go again. Now loudly complaining how my child is ruining your child’s learning experience. How the teacher is focused on the crying brat. Everyone around us is looking at you. Then to me. Sympathizing with me through their eyes.
They’ve been there.
They’ve had the crying child.
I fight. Fight to keep my cool. Fight everything in my being to not walk over to you and stuff your phone down your throat.
And then it happens. My child stops crying. He starts smiling. Swimming.
And yours starts.
Refusing to swim. Scared because he got water in his throat. He panicked.
Kids do that.
Cry when they are frightened. Cry when they are out of their comfort zone. Cry when a bad experience clouds their judgement. Cry when they see help sitting just a few feet away and we don’t move. We let them grow.
As difficult as it may be.
But you rush to him. Remove him from the water. Pointing fingers.
And I wait. I wait for the fall out. I wait for you to say something.
But it never comes.
And you haven’t returned since.
Maybe you switched classes. Maybe you pulled your child all together.
Maybe if you could have showed just a bit of empathy for the new kid. His parents.
Every child is different. Every child experiences things differently. Reacts differently.
In case you were wondering, he’s fine now.
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