Today the city pool closes for the summer (a bit earlier than previous summers). Since the boys and I have other plans today I wanted to make sure they got one last swim in at the pool that I not only grew up swimming in, but my father too. So much history, so many memories. I love that they love swimming there.
So last night we went for our final swim of the summer at 'Grama's big pool' as the boys call it (because my Mom is the director). It was also the very first time ever since I have had the boys that I did not put my suit on to get in and swim with them. I felt confident that they would be OK in the shallow end with me sitting on the edge of the pool near them. Me not getting in the water was sort of a big deal.
The boys were having a great time. They were splashing, playing... I was taking photos and chatting with my mom. At some point the Bunny Bee had taken off his lone red Spiderman silly band. The one I told him at home he might not want to wear to the pool because it could get lost. He put up a fight and I decided not to argue. I let him wear it. Not realizing he had taken it off when he started to panic he could not find it, I assumed he lost it in the water somewhere.
"No Mommy, I put it right here!", he insisted as he pointed to the side of the pool a little further down from where I was sitting. After looking around I gave him some sort of lecture that I don't really recall ... you know, to the effect of this is why I said to leave it at home. I reminded him we had tons at home but he was still upset.
The next thing I know my three small boys are going over to a group of boys twice their age. I couldn't hear what they were saying and thought they were playing, because these same boys had seemingly tried to get them to play earlier. My guys came back upset and said that one of the boys had taken the Bunny Bee's silly band. These little guys stuck together, went over to him and asked if they could have it back... as if he had taken it by accident.
They even said please.
The older boys insisted it was not the Bunny Bees and went further across the water where they knew the boys could not swim. Around the same time I watch the mom of the boy who had been sitting near me move to the opposite side of the pool. The Bunny Bee burst into tears, not understanding how this boys could take what was his. 'I said please!', he cried.
Not sure what to do I stroked his hair and tried to explain that some kids are not nice and we do not take things from others. My mom stepped in and walked the Bunny Bee over to the boy to 'talk' it out while I stayed with my other boys. She was sure she could get it straightened out easily.
From across the pool it looked like the boy's mother was yelling at my mom. I see the Bunny Bee still crying and trying to explain it was red and it Spidey shaped. I told myself I must have misunderstood because I could not hear that far away - but sadly I was not wrong. That mother first insisted that her son did not HAVE a silly band. As the Bunny Bee stood there crying the boy holds up his wrists to show there is no silly band (which I saw him wearing previously).
Then my mom spots it.
In the mother's clenched hands, a little bit of red Spiderman silly band sticking out the side.
You know, the one her son didn't even have.
Things got heated, the mother handed it over and when my mom thanked her she spouted off something about how we should be thanking her for handing over her son's silly band that wasn't even the Bunny Bee's. (Oh, so now he did have one?) She got so loud the next thing I know a police officer is involved.
Over a freaking silly band.
A silly band that I don't even think is in style with the older kids anymore... my kids are so small they don't know what's in or out yet. They just know they saw their older cousin with them nearly 2 years ago and have been obsessed themselves since.
That boy's mom glared at me from the other end of the pool and I can not tell you how much I wanted to march myself over there and tell her where she could go. But I didn't. Anything further would have just exacerbated the situation. I chatted with my mom and the officer for awhile as the boys finished their final swim of the summer. The pool closed for the night and wouldn't you know the mother and son were parked in the space right next to us?
I hate to admit that I lingered a little extra pretending to fidget with the boys booster seat straps as I again tried to decide whether I should open my mouth.
In the end, you know I didn't. I decided my boys had already been upset enough for the night and they didn't need to see me fight with another kid's mom. All I could think though, is if you would lie about something as small as a silly band... what else do you lie about? That child could have easily gotten out of hot water by claiming he found it and apologize - since the Bunny Bee did leave it poolside. Looking back, I now realize he used the other boys he was with to distract my boys so he could take it in the first place.
The whole incident leaves me feeling sick. What kind of child steals something from a child half his age. Oh wait - the kind with a mother who is willing to lie for him so he can steal from a smaller kid. What kind of a mom does that?! Had I not had the conversation with the Bunny Bee on the way to the pool about it getting lost, I would have sided with the older kid - that it must have been his. Because why would you lie. I would have assumed the Bunny Bee was mistaken and forgot to put it on. And if someone approached me the way that mother was approached, I would be horrified that my child might have taken something from another and lie.
It upsets me that the Bunny Bee had to hear all of that. Some things were said in Spanish and while he is no where near fluent, he is learning... and it is spoken enough that I wonder just how much he understood. Also, he just watched someones mother clearly lie - to his face. He's FOUR.
I was so proud of my boys for sticking together and trying to deal with this all themselves. After the pool closed we talked about it and I took them for hot fudge sundaes as a reward for watching out for each other and telling the truth.
I keep going over last nights scenario and I am just appalled that there are people out there like this. I wish I could say my boys will never run into a situation like this again, but the sad part is I know that they will. They are young to be learning a lesson like this.