Monday, June 20, 2011

You Take a Lemon....

Swimming lessons has always been a mecca of friendly and fun moms.  I can't count the number of great moms I have chit-chatted with while watching my little ones splish-splash around the pool.  We've always been able to trade the usual "he/she is soooooo cute" comments and share in the little triumphs as our children learn to be floating islands instead of sinking rocks.  It's the one place I can relax and feel confident that I won't have to referee an argument, threaten my kid with everlasting damnation if they don't share, or just worry that they will hurt someone and I'll have to apologize profusely to some woman I've never even met.  It's the only place in kid-world where I haven't run into "That Mom".  You know, the mom that has no issues with scolding your kid even when you are standing right there.  The mom who instantly decides that your kid is a future Charles Manson because he accidentally knocked her toddler down on the playground.  The mom who scowls at you because your kid threw rocks and makes you feel like an utter failure as a parent.  We've all had to deal with this woman at one time or another, and many of us have even been her on occasion, but she's usually at those places you don't go to regularly, so you only have to deal with her that one time.  Two weeks ago I had the great misfortune of running into her at swimming lessons.  I wasn't expecting it and I'm sorry to say she caught me with my guard completely down.  I won't fill you in on the gory details - it wasn't pretty - but the worst part was that I had to deal with her for the next 8 days!

Other than the mornings we spent at swimming lessons, our lives progressed as usual.  Earlier in the week, I decided to marinate a pork tenderloin and serve it up with some hummus, pita triangles and green beans.  All the kids were eager to help, so I started by getting Eli to help me with the marinade.  It was a simple, Mediterranean style marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, thyme and oregano.  I showed him how to squeeze and roll the lemon so it would be easier to juice, but after a few attempts I could see that he just didn't have the strength.  After I halved the lemons, he insisted on helping me juice them.  I held back laughter as I watched him squeeze with all his might.  His whole body was shaking, the veins in his neck were bulging, and he had a fierce determination in his eyes.  Finally, mercifully, a few drops of juice dripped into the marinade.  He looked up at me with absolute triumph and shouted, "I did it!"  He tossed me the lemon half and ran out the door to tell his sister.  I looked down in amazement at that half lemon that showed no signs of the tremendous effort my son had just employed, gave it a gentle squeeze, and the whole thing collapsed in my hand dropping at least 2 tablespoons of juice in the bowl.  I was going to give his sister a chance at lemon juicing, but while the meat was marinating, I realized I had no lemons left for the hummus and no green beans, so I had to move on to Plan B.

This incident with the lemon actually made me think of my troubles with "that mom".  She was trying her hardest to squeeze the joy out of swimming lessons for both me and my son.  For a few days, I thought she had succeeded.  As it turned out, her efforts proved fruitless.  Elijah continued to splash and play, and I continued to derive great enjoyment from watching him swim around like a little fish.  Though she was fiercely determined to make us pay for an over-zealous splashing episode, she just wasn't strong enough to squeeze the fun out of swimming.  "That Mom" was out of her league.  Disapproving scowls, heavy sighs and nasty comments may ruin a trip to the play area at the mall, but they are no match for the pure glee that comes from playing in the water.  I didn't make any new friends this time around, but I was bolstered by all the old ones who stopped to say "hi" and comment on how cute he was and how well he was doing.

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