Recently we stopped in at the Y pool so that Mr. Perfect could practice his skills. (No, he isnt't swimming endless laps like Unca Tim but he does need work on his "kickers".) We had no sooner gotten into the deep water when we were befriended by two little girls. One, aka Watch Me, just wanted an audience for her latest tricks. The other, Chatty Cathy, had a lot to share about her favorite colors, pets, and family members. Mr. Perfect was totally oblivious to the new additions as he practiced climbing in and out of the pool. (Elbow, elbow, tummy, knee, knee) We were able to convince Watch Me that it was more efficient to swim without holding her nose so something positive came from this encounter...for her. Chatty kept up a running commentary on all things important to a 5 year old until she suddenly stopped and gave me an odd look. Then in her most concerned voice she said, "You have braces". I replied that yes, I do have braces. Continuing in the concerned voice she asked, "what happened?" I replied that I wanted to have a pretty smile like hers and that braces would help me to do that. She patted my knee and "Bless your heart" which in the South and in this case meant something along the lines of....just keep believing no matter what the truth actually is. She hung around for awhile longer and then swam off in search of other adults to chat with...preferably those with a more realistic outlook on life.
While we were "entertaining" our little entourage, where were their parents? Chatty's mother stopped by briefly to be sure she wasn't bothering us. (What do you say to that? Yes, your kid is annoying me so please haul her off and play with her yourself?). Watch Me's parents never appeared to look up from their kindles on their shaded lounge chairs. And that is the usual parental reaction. I find that very interesting given the over-the-top helicopter parents that are quoted in social media sharing their concerns over the world we live in where our children cannot play outside unsupervised. I guess as long as they are in sight, the kids are safe.
Luckily for these parents, their kids are safe with us and we have accepted our roles as kid magnets. Maybe that's why we became teachers in the first place.