I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
“Chloe, you need to wait,” her mom said as she slid into the water.
One of the fun things I did over the summer was helping teach a mommy-and-me preschool swim class. We had anywhere from six to twelve children (plus their moms — and occasionally a dad) in the water for the class.
Children love routine. The class always began with the children and their participating parents sitting on the edge of the pool. The instructors were armed with small plastic watering cans, and we would go down the line, watering the children while we sang,
This is the way we wash our toes, wash our toes, wash our toes.
This is the way we wash our toes so early in the morning.
We would pour water over the little toes and feet that were resting on the gutter while we sang.
The second verse involved washing the knees, then the third was the tummies. Fourth and fifth were shoulders and heads.
Most children giggled their way through the whole thing. Some shied away, while others begged for more.
After the song, the parents would slide into the water while telling the child to wait, holding up their hand palm facing the child, like a policeman saying, “STOP.”
Chloe was a little girl who had been born quite prematurely. Even though she was now 18 months old, she was developmentally delayed in a lot of ways. She had no words that she spoke yet. Her mother would use a lot of sign language with her. And Chloe would sign back sometimes.
The sign for wait looks like this:
The fingers are upturned and wiggling.
Chloe’s mother would signal with the policeman “stop” for her to sit there, and then remind her to wait, emphatically doing the wait sign.
Chloe, however, would see the “wait” sign at swim class and screw up her face into a little pout that was precious. She would extend her arms towards her mother, practically begging to be taken with her. She loved the water. She did not want to wait one second longer than necessary.
At the end of class, we would close with a variation of the song we had begun with —
This is the way we wave bye-bye, wave bye-bye, wave bye-bye.
This is the way we wave bye-bye, so early in the morning.
All the children would wave good-bye to us as they exited the pool and headed toward the locker room.
All except Chloe. She was always frantically signing, “MORE.”