When the cat’s are away, they don’t want to see any mice!
I had a night away over winter break — a night away. It has been six months, almost to the day, since the last time I had a night away. Yes, I am on the half-year excursion plan. Twice a year I take the long ride from Weston to Fort Lauderdale, or South Beach or Naples and spend a single night with as much day wrapped around both sides as my parents or in-laws will allow. We couldn’t go far, and because I was looking for optimum veg time, proximity was second only to my first criteria - NO KIDS.
Yes, I said it … NO KIDS. I had to find a close hotel that was kid free during winter break, when every cold frostbitten family packs up their 2.5 children, takes their pets to the kennel, and comes to Florida hoping to thaw out. I, on the other hand, needed to chill out and the best place seemed to be this boutiquey hotel on Lauderdale Beach. The pool was off-putting to children, a long and narrow rectangle with no slides or falls. The décor was very hip, mod in an Ian Schrager, "don’t touch that kid, it will break" kinda way. I would avoid a place like this at all costs with my kids, as it blared “BORING” to anyone under sixteen. I banked on other families’ sense of “funless” to be on par with my own.
Wearing my too teeny bikini, I immediately found the pool and within moments I was donning an ipod, reading my book and sipping champagne. Totally enthralled with my book, I must not have noticed the influx of people at my tiny boutique pool. But then I heard someone scream, “Marco!” and though I am in South Florida where a name like Marco is not so uncommon, I could tell this was not some adult woman calling her adult husband to come put sunblock on her back.
“What the hell was that?” I asked my hubby, like I’d just heard a gunshot. “A kid,” he nonchalantly replied, like my gunshot was just some car backfiring. I looked up and, Lo and behold, it wasn’t just one kid it was a whole pack of them. Maybe five ranging in age from about 4 to 10. I shuddered as the largest one, who was undeniably their bossy leader, demanded another pool game that had them screaming answers to random questions, and swimming all over my tiny boring lap pool.
Leader: “WHAT‘S YOUR FAVORITE SHOW?”
Kid 1: “WHAT?”
Kid 2: “She said what’s your favorite show,” the little one repeated shaking in fear.
Kid 1: “OH, I’LL GIVE YOU A HINT, IT’S TWO WORDS.”
Why are they screaming? They’re 5 feet apart.
Leader: “TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND.”
Kid 1: “I SAID 2 WORDS!”
Leader: “TOTAL DRAMA ACTION?”
Kid 2: I think I know what it is. Can I guess?”
Leader: “NO! GIVE ME ANOTHER HINT.”
Kid 1: “FINE IT STARTS WITH AN i.”
Leader: “INDIANA JONES?”
Kid 1: “YOU SAID A SHOW NOT A MOVIE.“
Leader: “GIVE ME ANOTHER HINT.”
Kid 1: “NONANA NOPE NOPE…NOPE NOPE.”
Oh, come on, give her another hint already.
Kid 1: “I. C. AND IT’S ABOUT THE INTERNET.”
Leader: “WHAT IS IT? I DON”T KNOW.”
Kid 1: “WELL, I’M NOT GONNA TELL YOU TILL YOU GET IT.”
iCarly, iCarly, don’t suggest the game if you suck at it. I mean hello?
Leader: “UMMM, I GIVE UP.”
Kid 1: “iCARLY!”
I knew it.
Leader: “THAT’S CHEATING. MAHHHHHHHM MOM! HE CHEATED HE SAID IT WAS TWO WORDS AND iCARLY IS JUST……..”
Was this really happening? Did my ipod fade into the background and the passage of my book still not register after reading it 3 times over? I was actually angry. I am so capable of tuning my own kids out, why was I not able to use this skill on someone else’s?
I watched as kid 4 goaded kids 2 and 3 by bobbing up and down chanting “DIVE!” every “DIVE!” time “DIVE!” his head “DIVE!” cleared the water. I guess he hoped this would annoy them. I gave the parents a sideways glance to let them know that it was working on me, but they pretended not to notice.
One would think, out of politeness, I would be less overtly bothered by other people’s children, but the truth is I have to save that rigorous acting job for when my own send me over the edge.
The bobbing continued and noodles burst across the pool like fireworks. This is the reason they invented adult swim… and boutique hotels. While frantically searching for someone with a whistle, I studied the other adults.
Why were they so calm? Why weren’t they shooting looks at the over-permissive parents like I was? Were they not being over-permissive? ---allowing their children to have so much fun around the pool on vacation?
Then it hit me…the hot tub. The one refuge that still belongs to us serious adults. With my book in hand I crossed the trendy stretch only to find another pack; they were multiplying faster than I could count, and now they had infiltrated the sacred whirlpool area. An area that actually has an age requirement.
It was so unnatural, like seeing raccoons scavenging during the day, it was just wrong. Two kids watched the third one diving to the bottom against the current of the jets, kicking his feet all the while.
Ok, let’s regroup. I’m supposed to be representing the next generation of parents; the cool parents. Not our parents generation who would have scoffed before entry and sent the kids running for the hills. We “hip parents” have a rep to protect, right? We’re like kids ourselves. In fact, if you hadn’t met our children you would think we were too young, too fun, too awesome to be at such a boring pool in the first place.
I told myself, say something funny and endearing thereby shattering their vision of adults as naysayers and fun-enders. So, after carefully choosing my words I let my tension go, eased into the whirlpool and said, “Could you please stop splashing, it’s getting my book all wet. I don’t think you guys are even supposed to be in here.” I turned to pat my book with my towel and when I turned around they were gone.
“Awesome, shmawesome.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun