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KeeNote is a blog by Anne-Marie Kee that covers topics on education, administration and parenting.


Summer Moments


As I sat sipping my coffee Saturday morning on my back porch, I stared at our milky pool. Friday night was our annual end-of-year pool party, and we had anywhere from two to 15 kids in there between 5 and 11:00pm. It was a hot night and the kids refused to leave the water. I think they got out to eat burgers and dogs, but I was preoccupied with serving the adults, so I can’t be sure.

I know they ate their ice cream cones in the pool because I took a picture. When I handed over the tray of drumsticks, I didn’t specifically tell the 12 year old, “only give these to kids who are out of the pool.” I assumed it would happen.  But the next thing I knew, 15 kids were hanging off the side of the pool – talking, laughing, and eating ice cream. For a split second, I thought of intervening, but then I remembered our old cleaning lady’s favorite expression, always said loudly, with an exaggerated shrug of the shoulders, and hands in mid-air: ‘What you gonna do?’

Nothing makes me happier than a pool full of kids. But a pool full of kids eating ice cream? Tough call. Maintain a clear pool - and have some rules! - or let kids enjoy the moment and deal with the consequences?  As you can guess, I acquiesced. I always think of Barbara Coloroso’s three considerations – don’t intervene if “it’s not morally threatening, it’s not unhealthy or life threatening.” I believe that sometimes you have to let kids be kids. Besides, it is one night per year, and Kevin is pretty skilled at playing chemist. He can clear the water by Monday (most years anyway).

The next day our friend Mary left a voicemail, thanking us for the party. She said that her four year old declared that his favorite part was, “walking across Niagara Falls with Jacob!” That needed an explanation. We have a rope between the shallow and deep ends of the pool that we sometimes use when there are going to be little ones in the pool. As any thinking person would know, this is not meant for walking. But my son thought this would be a fun game. Again, should I be upset about this? I love to see young and old playing together, and there’s nothing like a pool for that. Just imagine: a teenager helping a four year old, balancing on a rope and trying not to “fall in the Falls.”  Jacob told me that he was calling him Nik Wallenda. How can you get mad about that?

My hope is that you have a few of your own moments this summer... when your rational side that wants to control the situation loses and the fun continues….when the rules slide… and when you let kids be kids.

Here’s to those summer moments… 


Posted by amkee on Monday June, 25, 2012 at 07:45AM

1 Comment:

hey Anne Marie

Spent some time tonight catching up on your blogs...I had a good chuckle as I read your account of embarrassing your children. I think that inevitable situation is a right of passage for both parent and child as exemplified by your memories (fond ones now?) of how you were embarassed by your parents. Being well past that phase in the parenting stage, i agree with your colleague when he wrote about the silent internalization of emotion....mostly pride for me , when, on a cold winter night in downtown Toronto my  20-year-old daughter nestled under my arm to stay warm. They still know where to get the necessities.  

The recent account of your pool party, when you let the kids be kids, created a very specific memory for me. I used to coach a lot of sports and especially minor hockey. I remember one Saturday morning going to the rink early for a practice with a team of 9 and 10 year olds. No doubt it was late in the season and this particular group, on this particular Saturday had absolutely no interest in participating in a structured practice. I tried to make practices fun all year...really i did!!

I sensed the lack of enthusiasm early on so rather than fighting it I threw a tennis ball on the ice and let them play shinny for a better part of the 40 minutes. No whistles, no interruptions, no "teachable" moments. I even went and sat down on the players bench so I would be out of the way, I actually (actually) had 2 parents  approach me wondering if something was wrong and worried that I was upset with the kids. I went in to a big explanation about letting them be creative and letting them try new things on the ice in a non-threatenting situation , more participation for all players, yatta yatta yatta when all I really needed to say was " I'm just letting the kids be kids"

from Paul Roantree on 07/10/12

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