"Hey Mom!" Andy shouts from the door, "can I go with M to the pool?" He already has his swim stuff on. They are headed to the big public pool. Having a friend around the corner is big excitement for Andy, and he is totally enjoying it. We are fabulously lucky. They are awesome people, and they love Joey, too. M's little sister T is particularly fond of Joey, because they seem to talk at the same wavelength, even though she is younger.
"Do you want to go to Big Pool with Andy and M?" I ask Joey, calculating how long it will take me to get into a suit myself, and what would need to be packed to survive an afternoon at a very crowded public pool, instead of the Smaller Pool where we are members.
"No," Joey replies without hesitation, and suddenly settles in front of his computer. This is unexpected reply; I blink, then turn to a crestfallen Andy.
"Well, you can go ahead," I say, to Andy's delighted surprise. After all, I know M's parents are like me- eyes on the children at the pool. Not time for reading or facebooking. Besides, Andy hasn't passed the swim test at the Big Pool for the year, nor has T, so they will all be in the shallow end- all being in the same section makes it easier to watch them at Big Pool. He'll be safe, have fun with his friend, have a relaxing afternoon at the pool. That's a Go.
As the door closes, my brain starts whirring with ideas for engaging Joey for the afternoon. Crafts? Books? Games? He gets up from the computer, disappears upstairs, giving me a few minutes to regroup. I start a plan of action.
He appears, fully dressed for swimming, with towel.
"Let's go to Smaller Pool," he announces, rather than asks. "Not too many people."
It is a victory of self-advocacy that I gladly reward by grabbing my car keys.