Wednesday, July 19, 2006


At the beach on Sunday, Thomas, the one year old, nearly drowned about twenty times. He didn't seem to mind at all. The current, from the tide coming and going from the Essex river forms these bunkers in the sand that are two or three feet deep. These bunkers hold water and become perfect little "bathtubs" for the kids to play in. Merry and David run around until exhaustion jumping in and climbing out. Thomas follows, crawling as fast as he can, in and out of these pools of warm ocean water.

The trouble comes when the water at the bottom of the bunker is deeper than Thomas' arms are long. The kid keeps going, there he is under water, after saving him three or four times I started to let him go, longer and longer. Eventually, he started to turn himself around, under the water and crawl back out. Smiling and laughing, loving every minute of exploring and playing with his brother and sister. The child was practically swimming on his own.

At this point in my fathering career I have pulled my children out of the water five or six times. It has never really scared me, I have always been in a position to see it coming. Sunday night after dinner at Grampy's, Merry decided she wanted to do some swimming. Merry can swim, it is not pretty and reminds me of someone trying not to drown, but she always makes it. David can't swim, he does very well with a float of any sort but on his own, bottom here he comes.

David is playing in the water on the steps. There are three steps, the third being chest deep on the little boy. I am sitting close by and keeping a very close eye on him. David is having a swell time on the deepest step, when he steps off it and down he goes. I get up from my post and move toward him, his eyes are open and he looks scared, he starts to kick his feet and almost makes it back to the surface. I reach in and pull him out, he was scared but a big hug brings him right out of it.

When it is happening it does not phase me, recalling how fast and silently he slipped beneath the surface is troubling. We work hard teaching them to stay away from the water when an adult is not around and even harder at always being around when they are near the pool. Watching it happen reminds everyone involved how quickly and quietly they can slip below the surface. This scenario has played itself out a handful of times between Merry, David and their cousins. It is an excellent reminder of how vigilant we, as parents need to be around water.


Blogger The Daring One said...

Yes. This does sound very similar to my experience. It is so frightening to thing how quickly and quietly they could just slip away and disappear.

4:05 PM EDT  

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