Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: A good lesson in a sparsely populated public pool.

We had a really great weekend. Much time was spent involving sprinklers, swimming pools, bottles of water and a lot of sun exposure.

Folks, SPF 45 tamed it, but didn't completely keep from sun tan.

Anyhow, we were able to spend Sunday with my husband's family. My sister-in-law was in town to run the local 5.25 run (Hey, Janeen! We looked for you!). The run was in the AM, after which we went to a local diner for breakfast.

I've never sat at the counter. It was a great FRESH food diner and the food was wonderful. K- had a pancake the size of her plate.

At any rate, after the run and breakfast, we took the girls to swim for a while. They had a great time playing together. It was a small housing development public pool, so it wasn't overrun by folks. It is where my brother-in-law's parents live, and they even came down to visit, and brought snacks and towels.

We were all sitting talking about this and that and I was keeping my eye on K- and the girls. The girls have a bit more swimming experience than K-, but with 3 seasons of the local university's swimming lessons under her belt, she does just fine.

Still . . .

They ended up with floatie raft thing. It was inflated around the outside rings, but the inside rings weren't inflated. K- was on it. They were laughing and having a great time. They ended up at our end of the pool, about 8 feet from the edge and I noticed my niece putting the float over K-'s head. I could tell that she wasn't doing anything maliciously and clearly, she was just playing.

K- yelled. She went down. Arms were flailing. The float got moved and K- was okay.

Rinse and repeat a time again.

I could tell that it was exhausting K-.

I could see her face. She was getting terrified. I knew that my niece couldn't see it, though. Again, she was just playing. My daughter wasn't.

I don't even know what we were talking about, but I got up and stepped onto the top step of the pool. I didn't yell. It didn't even occur to me to yell. I think that my starting to come into the pool fully clothed made my niece stop and look strange at me long enough for me to ask K- if she was okay.

Y'all, two more seconds and I was diving in. I didn't care about the clothes.

I brought K- over to the steps. "Are you okay?"


"Were you scared?"


"You were yelling. Were you yelling Mom?"

"No, I was yelling no. She didn't listen to me!" (My niece was giggling so much that I don't think that she actually heard K-.)

I praised K-. I told her that she did exactly everything right. I told her that all of her swimming lessons really helped her. Still, the incident scared her and will be with her forever.

Still, can I tell you how badly I wanted to have her sit in my lap and how much I wanted to cry right then and there? Family was there and would have thought I was a nut. We sat on a lounge chair and talked some more. She snuggled up next to me. I hugged her. I kissed her head. It still brings me to tears, though.

A similar incident happened to me when Hubs and I were dating. We were at a local water park. We had these thick foamy floats to slide down from one "puddle" to the other. The last one, big enough for 3 people, was a bit deeper than the rest. Hubs went down, then I came down after him. I got caught up under his float. He knew I came down. So did the "puddle guard," but they didn't see me. The more I pushed up to get out from under the float, the more he pushed it down. He thought it was the flow of water, not me. With one last push, I gave everything I had and flipped the float from out from under his arm. "Where have you been?" "Stuck under your float!"

It sounds like an old story we've all heard this time of year. It happened so fast. It really did. There was no life guard, so it was up the the parents on the perimeter of the pool to keep track. My niece truly meant no harm at all.

We've been gifted a public pool pass. This incident just confirms that I will not be sitting pool side leisurely reading. I will not be paying attention to others and chatting it up while my child is playing in the pool with others. Oh, I'll be talking to people, I'm sure. I will keep a constant eye on K-, though. I've decided to make an unwritten list of rules. Feel free to add to them.

1. Life guards are NOT babysitters. I understand that life guards are there for safety, but it is YOUR responsibility to be watching your child/ren. They are your back-up, not your primary. It is up to you to tend to their needs, be mindful that what they are doing is safe and to keep tabs on them.

If you need to go to the bathroom, pull the kids from the pool and take them with you. They probably need the break anyhow. None of us want them depositing waste (liquid or otherwise) in the pool anyhow.

Need a snack from the pool side snack bar? Take the kids out and have them sit in the chairs. Seem unreasonable? Too bad. Your sight won't be 100% on them and it is up to you to monitor them.

Need something from the car? Don't send the kids (the younger, though you can figure who is old enough in your crowd). Weird folks like to watch lovely young children, and not in a babysitting kind of way. Pull the kids from the pool and have them come with you. Is it a bother? Maybe. Are they safe? Absolutely.
2. Floaties in public pools are dangerous. I know that the kids are sometimes irritated that they can't bring their favorite floaties to the pool. I now understand why. First, it can give a false sense of security to a swimmer that may not be that good. It may give the parent/s a false sense of security as well. Secondly, someone can get caught up underneath in just a millisecond and no one would know. You cannot see them. The noise of a public pool setting would make it so that you couldn't hear them. Keep the floaties at home.
3. Don't run around the pool for a reason. Bare feet, flip flops, Croc's or otherwise. It isn't a good idea. Kids and people alike can slip and crack their head. They can knock an unsuspecting person in. It isn't good and not safe.
4. No food in the pool. That's just plain gross. Believe me, I saw kids eating while at K-'s swimming lessons. Going in with a pretzel in hand may not seem like a big deal, but they lose track of what they are doing and can choke. (Not to mention mooshy food floating by.)
5. If your kid is sick, stay home. None of us want it. Sadly, the public pool is basically like a giant petri dish with a little bit of chlorine added. Keep that in mind.
6. Don't take more children than you feel you can reasonably handle. Each child does not need to take a buddy along. There will be plenty of kids at the pool to play with.

I'm sure I missed a lot. Feel free to add. Any public pool pet peeves that you would like people to discontinue?

Smiles in my long weekend:
- Spending a lovely day with Hubs' family.
- Working on the yard with Hubs and getting him in at the first crack of lightning. Sure, he had decided to ditch our boating plans for Memorial Day, but that wasn't such a bad thing. Turned out that it came in a lot sooner than we thought. The dust from the ball fields left us in a haze of dirt. It was bizarre.
- Weeding today, though it feels as though it will never ever end. Well, it will when the snow flies. (I'm not completely complaining, but I guess I am.)
- The last week of school.
- Simple, summer food meals.
- K- making a car out of a box from a case of Sam's Club toilet paper. She put her stool on the inside, taped cups on for lights, plates on for wheels and buttons and had herself a grand ole time.
- I managed to get K-'s Kindergarten binder done, though I confess the need to purchase a larger binder. When she was in preschool, they gave a binder every year of all kinds of things that they had done and papers she had. I want to continue that through the years. I had kept a basket of papers on the end of the kitchen table. I went through it periodically, though not as often as I would have liked, to weed out the non-keepers. In her binder, I always begin with the class picture that year. I have all of her interim reports and the matching report cards. She has certificates in there, too. I put a select number of art projects throughout the year (folded, but still . . .), as well as a number of papers. I'm not a scrap booker. Sorry, but it bores me to tears. The binder with plastic sheets may not be as fancy, but it does what I need it to. I left a few pages blank so that I can add in the last few days of her year. I can't believe I actually got it done! I didn't think I had the plastic sheets for it, but I found them squirreled away in an awaiting binder.

Have a wonderful day!

1 comment:

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I'm sorry we missed you guys!! Had I of known I would have hunted you down :)
I'm so sorry for this incident. Heart Breaking and FRIGHTENING.
I almost drowned when I was 3. My dad saved me. I remember it. We were at a lake in NY and friends were supposed to be watching me but they weren't. It was scary. And the floaty thing happened to me at a park in Disney when I was in 3rd grade. I remember being under the water and thinking I'm going to die. I looked up and all the people in floaties were going over my head and I couldn't get up (it was a water ride). I had to use all my strength to push between 2 of them to get enough room to pop up. I scared the man I popped up by. He had to grab me and hold me the rest of the ride. I NEVER relax by the pool. I take a book every time and never open it. I don't know why I even take one? Habit from a childless time I guess :) We joined a pool this summer. We would love for you and Miss K to join us some time.