Three new kids appeared at the pool in June. Three kids with their dad, no mom in sight. The youngest befriended the Diva as they are both entering third grade. By the end of the summer, the eldest girl had also befriended the Diva.
During our weeks of Camp Mom, we saw the three at the pool in the afternoons. The kids would play, I would read, and the dad would do whatever it is that dads do while their kids are at the pool.
In typical kid fashion, the girls talked about their families. My Diva happily explained that I can't see very well and that she lives with me and attends our neighborhood school. The other little girl explained that her parents divorced, her dad lives here, and that she attends the school on this side of our neighborhood. With kids, there aren't many family, closely held, secrets. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone in my daughter's class knows that I run around half dressed on hot summer days!
This past Sunday we hit the pool with full knowledge that it would be one of our last trips before next May. The Diva played with her new friend, I read and attempted to figure out if she should offer this child her phone number for when she is in the neighborhood staying with her dad, and the dad talked on his phone and told his playing children that he would join them in the pool momentarily.
The kids were splashing and laughing. They had squirt guns. They were having a fabulous time. The dad kept telling the youngest that he would join them soon.
And then he did.
The Diva lasted about 15 minutes before she decided that she wasn't going to wait any longer for her new friend to resume their play. The dad wasn't playing with her; was not including her in their game, so she decided that it was time to go home.
I found the incident interesting. Unless it is time to go, I rarely interrupt my happily playing child. She is doing her thing, building her friendships, and living her life. Plus... she is happy. I love seeing and hearing my happy child - anyone's happy child. So, this father's behavior intrigued me.
Having been at the pool at the same time as his family on numerous occasions, I have seen how well he interacts with his kids. It is a close family with together time. He seems to enjoy being in the pool with them as much as they enjoy him being there. This was, however, the first time I witnessed him making a point about getting into the pool, specifying a child with whom he would interact despite her being very involved in her own game, and then breaking up that game completely.
The Diva was sad. Her game was interrupted when they were having a great time. The dad wouldn't include her. The little girl had to play with her dad in the pool. I wasn't sure how to explain it to her. I know why the dad couldn't play with her the way he was with his own kids - hands on, not knowing her, a stranger, etc (and thankfully she didn't push me on that one as I wouldn't have known how to explain that a strange man wouldn't feel comfortable touching her)... but they could have played something else. he could have joined in the game over changing it. The Diva included his kids in her play dates, invited them to share her pool toys and her friends, and never excluded them from an activity.
I have several ideas as to what happened, and what he was thinking. Newly divorced, having his kids just part time, and seemingly a very active dad... spending time with his kids while he had it was important. But I am curious as to what you take from the situation? You know everything I know. I am sure you have a thought as to what happened?