I am enjoying an afternoon off work by baking at the community pool. A handful of children splashing in the water remind me of summer's carefree days outside my cubicle walls. Cries for moms to watch this and that ring out repeatedly. Accomplishments include jumps into the deep and submersions without holding noses.
A pair of young girls play with water noodles near the pool steps. They are perhaps four. Both wear bikinis, one in light pink with ruffles on her bum and the other in bold orange with white bows on top and bottom. They try to sit on their noodles, which keep sliding out from under them. "Mommy!" one says to the woman sitting on the pool edge in front of my chair, "Help me!".
The woman steadies the noodles and both girls quickly straddle the bright green tubes. They shriek and laugh, then suddenly one is quiet. I look where she is looking. Three young women are walking toward pool chairs with their bags and towels. All three wear bikinis. One is about eight months pregnant.
The little girl stares open-mouthed at the woman's protruding bare belly, which commands even more attention with three colorful butterflies tattooed across it. The other child now sees what has captured her friend's attention and points while drawing in her breath. Her mother gently pulls her arm down:
Ruffles: Mommy! Look at her tummy!
Bows: Yeah! Look!
Mom: Yes, I see. Don't be scared. It's okay. Her baby's in there. Growing until it's time to come out.
Ruffles: When will she come out?
Mom: Probably soon, she'll be ready.
Ruffles: Before we go home?
Mom: No! Not that soon. It will be a lot more days from now.
Bows: Who put the baby in there?
Mom: Um, well, the daddy.
Bows: Why didn't he put it in his own tummy?
Mom: Ha! You know honey, that's a very good question. Why don't you ask your daddy when you get home.