Being a mother of boys--I knew it would be harrowing at times, but you're never quite ready for it. The boys and I learned some lessons this week....
We went to a pool party at one of the families that is in our small group. Simon had soccer practice so our nephew took Simon to practice and the rest of us headed to the party. I showed the boys where the deep end was, where it was shallow, where the floaties were if Noah wanted them (he declined, the other kids his age can swim without them so he opted to play in the shallow end where he wouldn't need them). I felt good about that. Got Jesse in a life jacket once he decided he wanted to go in the pool.
Then our nephew brought Simon, just in time for dinner. We ate and all the kids got back to swimming. I helped Simon get in his trunks and got him some floaties, although he swims about as well as Noah, but he's short!
Eli got brave and went down the slide and swam to the edge. Once he went the first time, I don't think he left the slide the rest of the night. Simon right away went down the slide, and was fine with his floaties. After a while Jesse got out and we put dry clothes on him and he went to play in the sand box. It's his favorite thing. Then Simon wanted his floaties off, and I helped him and dried him off; he was going to play outside of the pool for a little bit. Tim went inside to get another burger. Everyone was having a very good time!
Eli was non-stop on the slide and the adults were sitting around talking. I hear Eli call to me, "Mom! MOM!" I look, he's at the top of the slide ready to go down. I smiled at him. He points down to the water, at the bottom of the slide, "Simon!" I quickly look at the water, there's a kid splashing around beyond the rope, struggling to keep their head above water. My mind processes these thoughts: Simon? He's wearing orange floaties. There's no orange on that kid. Simon's floaties are on the table. That's Simon! I gotta get him!
I took off running and jumped in, clothes and all. I grabbed him, lifted him high so he would know he was out of water and safe and tried to stand up. The pool is small and beyond the rope it is VERY steep to get deep enough for the diving board at the far end. I couldn't stand up easily, like I had figured. I couldn't reach the rope. Almost, but not quite. Simon was still struggling. Now I'm struggling to help him. I'm thinking, "This is hard, like they always tell you it will be if you have to save someone. Crap! I can't get us out of here!" So I "tigger hopped" like we tell the little kids to do when they get too deep, which was hard, but it wasn't far. I grabbed the rope, pulled us over and then set him on the side of shallow end. By that time, Tim was coming back in the gate and two of the other dads were right there to help us.
We got out and snuggled and dried off. Simon didn't cry, didn't say much. He did say his belly hurt. I asked him if had swallowed water, and we figured that's why his belly was hurting.
Tim got in the water while I was snuggling Simon and then he asked Simon if he wanted to come back in the pool with him. Simon hesitated. Tim said, "You can ride on my back." Simon bounded off to get back in the pool. A few minutes later he came to get his floaties back on, and you would never know that he had just had a bad water experience.
I was surprised at how quickly he got over being scared. I did have my suit on under my clothes, so I took off my shirt and skirt and wrung them out, then I got in the pool too. Thankfully I had already taken my tennis shoes off before needing to jump in-that would have really weighed me down!
A little later Tim was sitting on the side of the pool, I was standing in the pool, and Jesse was outside of the pool filling up a squirt gun from the pool when he toppled in head first. He was right beside me so I grabbed him instantly, but it was by the foot. I started pulling him up, but I needed two hands, and my arms weren't long enough to get him all the way out of the water-his head was still under, so I holler to Tim, "Tim help me!" He reaches over me, grabs Jesse by the thigh/waist and pulls him right up.
Jesse and I sat and dried off for a while. Jesse was right back at it filling up the squirt gun after a few minutes, so I showed him how to lay down on the side so he wouldn't fall in. I laughed and said no one is ever going to invite us swimming again!
So we learned a few things that night:
Make sure all of the kids know the shallow/deep parts of the pool--I realized Simon wasn't there when I gave the layout to the other boys. He didn't know it was deep beyond the rope and just went out there. Thinking further about it-none of the pools we have utilized this summer have a rope with a deep end, Simon just didn't know how that worked.
Always check out a new pool myself, so I know for sure what the kids can do--I hadn't been in that pool before.
We're all taking more swim lessons this fall/winter/spring, I've let it slide the last two years and that stops now.
Eli also made a wonderful decision in calling to me rather than going down the slide to try to help Simon himself. He said he knew those were the two things he could do, and I'm so thankful he made the right decision! I am very proud of him, and let him know it! And, Simon did do very well keeping himself above water before I got to him, he'll make a very good swimmer.
Everyone is fine and very excited about the pool party we are going to on Saturday. Oh, and we're gluing the floaties to Simon's arms!