We’re in Florida this week for Spring Break. We spent yesterday on the beach, so today we’re setting up camp by the pool. My kids love hotel pools, mostly because they are so often paired with the holy grail of relaxation for the elementary-school set: a hot tub.
My kids have both had a passion for hot tubs since an early age. A few years ago, when my parents moved to a retirement community, Richie thought the most impressive thing about the whole place (other than the fact that there’s an elevator and a restaurant where you can get French fries any time you want) was the huge hot tub that sits right beside the indoor pool.
Twice a week, the pool hosts a family swim, and if our schedule allows AND Gram’s beyond-hectic-social-calendar-and-doctor-appointment-schedule does too, we go. But much to Richie’s horror, the first time we walked in, he read the rules posted on the wall and learned that children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the hot tub.
Now you might ask, “What 8-year-old boy walks into a pool and reads the rules first thing?” Only my Richie (and lots of other Autistic kids who find comfort and safety in rules and routines). His love of rules is both endearing and maddening, depending on the day.
We hadn’t been to a family swim in over a year when one day, out of the blue, Richie said to me, “Four more months and I can get in the hot tub!” This was such a non sequitur that I had to ask him what he was talking about. He reminded me of the rules at Gram’s hot tub, and the fact that he’d turn 12 in just four months. The kid does not forget anything.
Back to today, in Florida, at the hotel pool. We chose lounge chairs a few rows back from the pool but right beside the hot tub. After I sunscreened both Richie and Jillian to within an inch of their lives, the kids walked towards the hot tub and I got comfortable in my chair. I’d barely taken two breaths when Richie was back at my side, beckoning to me with his hand. Once again, he’d read the rules. “Come on, Mom,” he said, “I need some adult supervision.”