Tuesday 10 July 2012

Paging Mrs. Herman....Mrs. Herman. Paging Mrs. Herman?

As I hinted in last week's post, right now is a particularly busy time in the Rotten household.  We've got appointments, community programs and therapy sessions up the wazoo and it's starting to get a little difficult keeping track of it all.  It's gotten to the point that I'm now getting Frick's social worker to do most of our work over the phone rather than meet in person just to minimize the number of times I have to travel across town to the doctor's office.

My Mother in-law very graciously enrolled both boys in daily swim lessons for the next two weeks, which started last night.  She was even thoughtful enough to schedule it so that they took place around the same time so I only had to take them to the pool only once a day instead of twice.  Mother Rotten is awesome like that.  On the other hand I'm kind of stupid at handling hectic schedules that are not my own.


Last night I pack up the boys and we head out to the local public swimming pool.  When we get there I'm pleased  to see that Frack's class is very small.  Only three kids.  This is great because it leaves less opportunity for the kids to spit pool water on each other, or something equally disgusting, while waiting for their turn.

I pass the time alternating between watching my kids take their turns swimming and reading the news on my iPod, so I'm really only half paying attention.  Frack seems to be having the time of his life, bouncing and splashing around.  But I notice that the instructor is using way too many words when telling him what to do.  I doubt he really understands what she's saying.  And I can tell she has no idea what he says to her.  But this is the kind of interaction his speech therapist says is good for him because it challenges him to try harder to communicate, so I stay out of it.

When I look up again I see the class is stopped and the instructor is talking to the lifeguard about something.  They both look kind of worried.  I wonder if something is wrong with Frack but he looks happy pretending to be a frog.  Then the other lifeguard comes up to me.  I'm sure she is going to want to talk to me about Frack because they can't understand him.  I look up expectantly and she asks me:

"Are you Herman's Mum?"


"What?  No.  I'm here with Frack."

And then she nodded at me like everything was cool and went on to ask the other parents if they were with little Herman.  I went back to watching my boys and reading the news.

A couple of minutes later she came and knocked on the lifeguards' office door, which happened to be right next to me.

"Roger, we have an unattended little boy in the Splash class.  He is far too young to be on his own.  See if you can call his parents and get them to come here.  Also, at the end of the class do not let him leave the building."

Okay.  There are only three kids in this class and one of them is a girl.  So they are either talking about my kid, which is impossible since his name is not Herman.  He can say his own name and even though it's not perfect it doesn't sound anything like Herman.  Or they are talking about the other kid.  Which is weird because I thought I saw his mother talking to the instructor earlier.  But I told the lifeguard my kid's name and she has a clipboard with all the kids' names on it and everything was cool.  Right?  Whatever.  Herman wasn't my problem and obviously the pool staff was on top of it.

The lifeguard goes back to where the Splash class is taking place to stand guard over poor abandoned little Herman.  Every once in a while she exchanges nervous words with the instructor as they look around the room searching in vain for the little boy's mother.  Frack tries to show her a float toy.

A few minutes later the lifeguard comes back to talk to Roger.

"Any luck contacting the parents?  No?  Well, keep leaving messages for them.  Maybe try going out to the lobby and see if they're waiting there or just outside.  Remember, this little boy cannot leave the building until we have located his parents.  When you get a hold of them be sure to express to them that they can't leave their child here unattended.  What if he wanders out into traffic?  (Sigh) Who would leave such a young child alone at the pool?"

Poor, poor Herman.

I look over at Frack and he is loudly trying to tell the instructor that his brother is in the other class but she just shrugs and shakes her head in confusion.  He rolls his eyes, gives a world-weary sigh and continues playing with his float toy.  He might not talk well yet but his face is very expressive.  Right then his face seemed to say "I'm surrounded by idiots."

Shortly after that the class comes to an end.  Frack gets out and comes running to me for his towel which I have ready for him.  As I'm drying him off the lifeguard comes up to me.

Sure enough, Herman was my kid the whole time.

Turns out Frack's class was a half hour earlier.  We were in the wrong class by accident.  Herman had coincidentally not shown up so they assumed that Frack was him by process of elimination.  Because when they asked him what his name was he decided to say "Spiderman" which does indeed kind of sound like "Herman" when he says it.

Poor Herman's parents.

I guess they're in for a little surprise when they check their messages.


  1. Ha! The worst time to claim to be Spiderman. I don't know the degree of his speech impairment, but I wonder, were they the type of people who don't even TRY to understand children? Mine isn't speech-impaired, but strangers almost never bother to ask him "What?" if they don't get it the first time. They immediately turn to me, expecting me to translate.

  2. That is hilarious! And who names their child Herman anyway??!