Thursday, July 14, 2011

i hope that never happens again.

If it was possible to upload mental images to computers, I know just what picture would accompany this post.  Then, if I could somehow let you feel what I felt in the moment that mental snapshot was taken, I would certainly add it, too.

(It probably would have made a nice Wordless Wednesday post, seeing as how I've not been able to keep up with the simple act of uploading a few pictures once a week...)

Some friends of ours invited us to go swimming yesterday, and Ethan and I happily accepted their offer.  He's learning to love the water a little more each time, and I don't really pass on the chance to sit in the sun! This particular pool is really nice, with a good sized kid-friendly area.  Usually, Ethan is content with playing there but was extra distracted yesterday; he wanted to do anything but what I asked him to do.

After umpteen times of him walking around the perimeter of the pool and ignoring my requests to play in the kiddie area, I decided we would take a break for a snack.  (I'm starting to see a strong correlation between his attitude and the length of time since food last entered his belly.)  He sat on the concrete, kicking his feet in the water while eating his pineapple, and stayed right where I asked him to.

Until he got up.

Thinking back now, it's like I was watching him in slow-motion, but it all happened so quickly at the time.  He stood up, started to walk away from us, and I asked him to come back.  He kept walking, simultaneously eating his snack, and got closer and closer to the edge of the pool.  (Can you see where this is going?)

"Surely he'll stop", I thought to myself.

I called his name louder, stood up from where I was sitting, and in mid-bite he walked right off into the water.

My eyes were locked on his body the entire time.  I took two huge steps through the wading pool.  My mind was racing. 

"Swim, Ethan, swim! ... but he doesn't know how!"

Two more steps into the deeper end.

"Hold your breath.  Please hold your breath."

One last leap got me to him.

By the time I wrapped my arms around his body, he had already managed to get his head above water.  To feel pride in the midst of that much fear felt a little strange, but I showered him with praise.  He was terrified and clung to me as we walked out of the water.

"You're OK", I kept telling him, as I kissed his forehead and listened for any rattled breathing.  He coughed up small amounts of water and recovered physically well before he calmed down emotionally.

As I sat with him on the lounge chair, I felt a surge of adrenaline run through my body as I started to think about what could have happened.  What if I had been 10 steps away, instead of 5? My legs started to shake at the thought and I silently thanked God for the instincts with which He has equipped us; a child's to doggy-paddle, and a mom's to act quickly.

I pulled Ethan closer, all the while checking his breathing and heart rate. I considered packing up and leaving, right then and there, but knew that would be projecting my fear onto Ethan.  He was ready to get back in, after all.

So we stayed, and I reinforced our rules for being at the pool.  He became much more compliant after the fall (and his snack), and we were able to enjoy the rest of our time in the water.  I watched him closely, held him closely, and remained so very thankful that he truly was OK.

But ... I'd be lying if I said I didn't come home and look-up "dry drowning symptoms".

And swim lessons.


Jenny Lincoln said...

Oh my goodness Joye- how scary! Aly and I are at the pool all the time and I am constantly terrified that this is going to happen. And, the odds are, that at some point it will. (kids and their darn curiosity!) I just pray that I am as quick a reacting mama as you were!!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of dry drowning, so you are always a step ahead!

I remember when Jeramie did something of the same sort when he was around 3 years old. I am not sure who it scared the most, me or him.... so I can relate to how scared you were, but your mother reflexes saved the day!!

I am glad he is okay... and I am glad you guys stayed at the pool and he got back in the water.


Love Always,
Grandma A.

Stefenie said...

Oh wow!!! Wyatt did that once when he was two with the babysitter while I was at work. I cannot tell you how freaked out I was because I wasn't there to save him....the sitter did. I thank God every day that she was watching him when it happened.

We have Logan signed up for swim lessons this year because he is not afraid of water at all. He would jump in head first if I let him. At least he listens if I tell him to stop.

Glad that Ethan is ok!

Tara said...

That gave me chills - That must have been so scary. I have a big fear of children and water...Would have been hard for me to not go home, like you said! Glad he is ok!! And you too, momma!

Amanda Baumann said...

So glad everyone is okay. I am glad you can see humor is such a scary situation. :) It is so true about the fear part. I think it is harder for mama's to stay calm then kiddos. Oh the lessons motherhood teaches us! I love that I am part of the club!

Mandy said...

I know it was scary girl. Sorry I missed the dramatic event. Sounds like you handled it well and I think you two getting back in the pool with us was great for Ethan. I would have looked up the same thing when I got home!! :)

Neysa said...

That was so scary to read. You did amazing, though.

I've also googled secondary drowning after Carter had a near miss in a pool.

Hugs to you. You are a wonderful momma!

Annie B. said...

I'm glad there was a happy ending to that story! This reminded me to bring a leash next time I go to the pool! :)

Carolina Carters said...

You had my heart pounding! That's a huge fear of mine too, and add in little boys who aren't afraid of the water...oh, my! I'm so glad Ethan is ok and that you are too!

Jenny Benny said...

Joye, this former swim instructor gives you a big high five for letting Ethan back in the water after that. And another for you looking up swim lessons. It's never too early for kids to learn how!

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