Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The Misters are back at swimming lessons. Which means that the race from school gate to pool is on again. Twenty minutes from bell to the first splash, via a quick snack, changing from uniform to what Mr4 calls 'swimming underpants' and a hurried 'how was school?' update. It's a finely timed operation.
The scene: deciding that the coast is clear, the mother lines her babies up. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. You can almost hear them sounding off like the Von Trapp children as she makes sure they're all there.
At 3.15pm, we pull up out the front of the heated pool. Across the road, the open-air pool is closed, awaiting the long weekend and the warm weather. As I unbuckle my seatbelt, I glance across the deserted carpark, surprised that there are so few cars here yet. And that's when I see them...
The scene: Dad appears from nowhere to bring up the rear of the line. There are so many of them and they have a long way to go. Between them, the parents frogmarch their little charges to the edge of the carpark. They stand near the kerb, watching, waiting. The road in front of them, a standard suburban street, appears vast.
"Quick!" I shout, racing around to let the boys out of the car. "Look!" I point to the little family, taking its first tentative steps onto the street.
"Ducklings!" shouts Mr7. Mr4 claps his hands. We all stand and watch, breaths held as we watch the line of fluffy ducklings, sandwiched at either end by their ever-vigilant parents, make a break across the street.
"There aren't any cars coming, are there Mum?" asks Mr4, worried.
"Those lookouts will let them know," says Mr7, pointing out the two ducks standing, as though on guard, nearby.
The scene: the ducklings flap and waddle and wiggle their way across to the other side, and the safety of the river bank. Mum and Dad Duck stand on the verge, watching as, one by one, they slip and slide and slither their way down the grassy hill towards the water below. Proud parents.
We watch them until they disappear over the rise. At which point I realise the time, line the boys up and we skiddle and skaddle and run helter skelter toward our first lesson of the season. Where Mr4 did the best 'big arms' ever, and Mr7 received a 'good' from the notoriously tough teacher. Proud parent.
[image: via dreams that glitter xo]