The Troubles with Charlie

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Cute + Charming + Curious = The Troubles with Charlie

We arrived at the Meet n’ Greet, which took place at the neighborhood clubhouse. It was a hot day in July, and the kids were promised a chance to swim. Unfortunately, the swimming was delayed due to a typical summertime thunderstorm. And, according to the life guard on duty, we had to stay out of the pool until 30 minutes had passed with no thunder.

Everyone was gathered in the small clubhouse, waiting out the storm. Though the kids were looking forward to swimming, they didn’t let the storms dampen their spirit. For two hours, the kids played happily indoors. I spent most of the time in a comfy chair, sitting with Joe, my 5yr old. He and I are people watchers. Rob was making his rounds, taking to heart the point of the ‘meet n’ greet’. And, Charlie, my 4yr old, was running around like Curious George, exploring any and all open doors, following the older kids all around, wooing them with his grin and staring out the windows watching the rain.

The rain and thunder did pass, shortly after we finished dinner. Once given the all clear, the kids darted out to the pool. Though Joe and Charlie are new to swimming, the two were quick to get into the pool. Joe chose to stay by the steps, while Charlie was ready to explore.

Clinging to the side of the pool, Charlie started to slide along, leaving the security of the steps. When he realized he cleared the steps, he let go of the wall and rolled on to his back, floating. I watched as he swam confidently on his back. The smile on his face made it clear he was enjoying himself. Suddenly, the once subtle waves became more intense as more kids entered the pool. Water was splashing onto Charlie’s face, and I could see his smile slowly turn to panic.

As Charlie’s panicking increased, he began to lose his bearings, which meant he no longer saw the wall. Charlie was within my arm’s reach, but rather than grab him – I bent down and tried to talk him through his fear. I told him to quiet his feet and let himself float. The waves and the splashing continued, and Charlie became more and more flustered. I admit, I was becoming a bit panicked, too.

I reached my hand out, in an attempt to grab Charlie and bring him back to the wall, but I couldn’t reach him. I turned around to Rob and said, “Get in and get him!” Rob had every intention of getting in with the boys, but he stayed back a bit, because we wanted the boys to try it out without ‘Daddy’.

Rob got a hold of Charlie and sat him on the side of the pool. Breathing a sigh of relief, I knelt beside Charlie and talked to him about what had just happened. I reminded him of the float position and keeping his feet quiet. Truthfully, Charlie wasn’t all that shaken up about it. I was the one that needed to breath into a paper bag. And, in less than five minutes, Charlie was standing up and asking Daddy to catch him as he jumped into the pool.

Charlie looking at the water under the 'temporarily closed' fountain

The rest of the evening, I watched Charlie slide along the wall of the pool to the deep end several times, letting go and swimming on his back all the way to the other side. I watched Charlie get to the point where he jumped into the pool by himself and swam to the steps, got out of the pool, jumped in again, etc. And, while I watched Charlie do all of this, I noticed Joe, staying in or near the shallow end, taking few risks and only jumping when Daddy was waiting for him in the pool.

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One of our house rules is that the boys cannot come out of their room before 7Am. I enjoy quiet mornings, so I make a point to wake up and have time to myself before the boys come out of their room. Well, the next morning, while I was reading a book and drinking my coffee before the 7AM ‘release’, I could hear Charlie in his bedroom. I heard him playing with his Lincoln logs, talking to his animals and singing. Though Joe came out of his room promptly at 7AM, Charlie remained in his room.

I got up off the couch and knocked on Charlie’s door, as I started to open it. When I opened the door, I found Charlie’s shorts drawer open and empty. He had scattered the shorts all around his room, looking for the perfect pair to wear. And, I found Charlie, standing on shelving in his closet, picking out the perfect shirt to wear with his perfect shorts.

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With Joe starting Kindergarten a week from today, Charlie will be the ‘big kid on campus’ at Suzann’s house. Charlie has been Joe’s shadow for most of his 4yrs. However, based upon his independent exploration at the Meet n’ Greet, Charlie is ready to spread his wings. Charlie is curious. Charlie is a doer. Charlie is an explorer. What’s worse – Charlie is a charmer. Charlie’s characteristics make me smile, perhaps nervously. I cannot help but wonder about my ‘potential’ troubles with Charlie.

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