Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Practically Drowned

Swim lessons every Tuesday and Thursday night. That's how we roll around here. Tonight's lesson turned into more of a fishing expedition, as I was forced not once, but twice, to deftly maneuver my body out over the edge of the pool just far enough to yank my panic-stricken daughter from certain death.

After the second incident I called a time out. Samera was ready and willing to go back in, but to be perfectly honest I knew that my heart couldn't take another near-drowning experience. Instead I wrapped her in a towel and held her on my lap for a while until my pants looked wet in very suspicious areas, and the adrenalin stopped making my head spin. Then I took off my heavy knee-length wool coat, scooted a lounge chair 2 millimeters from the water, pushed up my sleeves, and asked her if she would like to try again.

She didn't want to.

I am afraid to go to sleep tonight, because all I can think about is her face under the water - huge eyes looking up at me in terror. I had never seen that look on her jolly face before. It makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it.

And then I remember how, in those split seconds that felt like infinities, one of my thoughts was, "You've GOT to be kidding me. This isn't really happening. If I can't reach her, I won't have time to take off my coat. And then I'll have to drive home dripping wet and freezing."

Is it normal to be practical/completely irrational while you watch your child sink?

Does it mean I am an unfit mother?

Are you dialing Social Services right now?

*If you're wondering what kind of teacher doesn't even notice when one of her swim students nearly drowns - twice, it's the thoughtless teenage kind that expects four 3-5 year olds to sit still on three tiny, slippery stairs in the water while she practices back floating with another toddler half-way across the pool. Had I known how swim lessons were run at this establishment, I probably wouldn't have signed up. Oh well. From now on you'll find me in a swim suit, ready to pounce at the most minor provocation. But I don't think I need worry. Samera has finally learned a healthy respect for the pool.


Amber said...

If you are an unfit mother, I am an unfit wife. Because I sit in bed at night and think about whether or not I would pause to put on mascara if I ever get THE knock on my door in the middle of the night to tell me something terrible has happened to my husband. So if there is to be judging, let it be of me.

Yours is totally understandable. You didn't want to get your coat all drippy. I get it.

But the image of a drowning baby. Not okay. Had that happen to Cora once. Jumped in my parent's pool before we slid her floaties on. She was 3 and talked about it for years. "Mom, remember that time you let me drown."

Stephanie said...

Irrational thought goes along with crisis, I think. I drowned when I was little (whole resuscitation thing and all). I had learned that I could go under then stand up. I walked down to the deep end of the pool where Carrie and Jason (older brother) were and "showed" them. My mom (enter irrational thought), saw it happen and started running THROUGH the water to get to me. I am still pretty scared of swimming, but do it anyway for the rush, I guess.

Wesley went under a couple times in the baby pool and I understand that look. He'll continue lessons this summer; I don't want to see that look again.

Sharlee said...

Oh, Andrea. You make me laugh!!! I am not laughing at your pain, but your honesty. Social Services will be calling in just a few, so get dressed.

The United Statements of Merica said...

I hate those moments. I am a totally overbearing paranoid mother in order to avoid those moments, and the mess that ensues many dangerous situations. Reese (2 1/2) jumps off the diving board. She can't swim, but doesn't realize that you have to be able to. She likes to go under water and we grab her up. I frantically follow her around the edge of the pool (me in, her out trying to find a spot where she can jump in without me to cramp her style),, I'm pretty sure that my grey hair is a result of last summer. This year we have a pool in out back yard (gated), but I think water wings will be a permanent summer accessory.

Marianne said...

Don't worry. I'd probably be thinking the same thing. I'd also be thinking, "I did my hair today. Now I'll have ugly, wavy, flat hair."

If social services calls maybe you should give them my number too.

I'm glad Samara's okay!

Amber said...

After seeing it did you have the desire to play a drinking game. Every time Amber touches her hair you take a shot. We would all be hammered. Seriously. I'm so lame.

Rozel said...

Have you seen those "swimming lessons" were mothers throw their BABIES into the water? CRAZINESS I tell you, CRAZINESS!

Mardee Rae said...

ooooh...the image of child in water. I can barely get myself to put it in a sentence together. You'll notice I couldn't use that d-word that describes water-struggle in conjunction with a child. I have had many, many nightmares that I have seen my children in the water that way. It's vivid. And I fear it.
And yet, I totally understand the thought about your coat. Have you forced yourself over the years to fight your overprotective urge by thinking overly rational thoughts? I think I get it.
And yes, my husband really says "peace out" to me. All the time :) Does yours?

Kacy said...

Oh my gosh. I haven't done swimming lessons since I had my 3rd baby--not enough hands.