Tom and I took the kids and met my niece Maggie at the pool this afternoon. The kids were taking a break from being in the water and were playing around our chairs. They'd been out for more than a few minutes, and were completely dry. Maggie and I were chatting while they were playing with water guns. At one point I saw a kid (I don't know... about six to eight years old?) griping at Cooper about the water gun. I assumed that Cooper must have squirted him or something. It appeared that the kid was walking past our area. I watched him say something to Cooper and he walked away. I didn't think much of it, to be honest. Cooper's three, after all, and we are at a pool.
The next thing I knew Cooper was standing at our chairs soaking wet and crying. It took a second to realize that he was dry just a second ago. And then Murphy said someone pushed him in the pool. I was very confused - we were sitting RIGHT there. Just a few feet from him a second ago. As I was trying to figure out what happened, I could see a couple in the water/sitting on the side of the pool right in front of us. It looked like they were aware of what was going on.
I don't remember what I said to them, but the gentleman told me that someone pushed Cooper in the water (it was five feet deep where we were and Cooper cannot swim, nor is he five feet tall) and that he got him out of the water for me.
Cooper had been filling up the gun at the side of the pool, so I asked if someone accidently bumped him in the water. He said, "I don't think so." I, of course, told him "thank you" several times. As if there is ever enough thanks you can give to someone for fishing your son out of the water and out of harm's way.
As I talked to him more, he told me that this kid pushed Cooper into the water where there were several boys playing. Everyone in the pool around that area could see that Cooper was struggling and one of the boys grabbed him and then handed him to this gentleman who put him back on the ground.
Obviously Cooper is fine (thanks to those that saw him in the water) - but when I think about it, it makes my stomach hurt. It doesn't help that I was talking to Maggie - and that I never saw it happen.
Clearly, my first thought is that the person who pushed him in was that kid that was griping at him just a few minutes earlier. So, I asked the gentleman if this particular kid was the one. There were two kids in the same shirt. I went and told a lifeguard.
That sounds so ridiculous. I told on him. But, there is no way that is acceptable behavior. You can't just go pushing a little kid into deep water!!! What the hell??? And I really didn't think that I would handle it appropriately (a conversation with the kid, myself, I mean). The lifeguard went and spoke to one of the boys, but it wasn't him. Then we saw the other kid and I knew that was the kid that spoke to Cooper. So, she went and talked to him.
She returned and said that he admitted to pushing Cooper in the water. But he said that he thought he could swim since he was standing by the pool. Whatever. And then she said that he has Autism and that she wasn't really getting anywhere with her conversation with him. She said she was going to talk to his parents (but he was there for a party, and they weren't there). But she knows who they are.
I get that we can't control everything our children do - with or without special circumstances. But, wow, is that dangerous! Thank God for the guys that saw Cooper and rescued him! Later on that kid walked by our area again and Cooper yelled at him! Cooper wasn't with me when I was talking to the lifeguard or anyone else about it. So, it's not like he heard us say it was that kid. He knew. Cooper pointed at him and yelled, "Hey, you pushed me in the water!" The kid turned looked at him and then hurried off.
It still makes me sick to think about it.
And I couldn't help but think, what if he pushed Harlie in the water??? That could be tragic. No joke. No exaggeration. The trach is an open passageway to her lungs - with no protection from water. Water would fill her lungs instantly. And now I feel even more sick.
I know that some would say she just shouldn't be around water. Period. But, she loves it! How can I keep her from experiencing that joy? Especially considering all she's been through? She deserves some fun, too! And she is aware that she cannot go in the water freely. If she didn't know, and wanted to jump in, it would be a whole different ball game.
But I can tell you that I would NEVER, EVER, send her to the pool for a party without someone looking after her every move. I've already said that I cannot take the three kids to the pool by myself. I just don't feel comfortable taking two non-swimmers, and one who needs constant, close supervision, alone. I do believe that's just simply too dangerous.
I actually tried it for Murphy's swim team practice this week. Usually, I take them, but I don't let them in the water and they have to stand by me the whole time Murphy is swimming. This time I let them get in the shallow end. But, even that was stupid. Especially considering I didn't wear my swimsuit that night. BIG mistake. Other moms around me had to help me keep an eye on them, and I'm just not comfortable with that.
So, back to what I was saying earlier... I get that we cannot control everything our children do (I am really at Harlie's mercy, so I know this to be true and try not to judge others). However, I can't help but wonder how many times this has happened before? Certainly Cooper didn't make him so mad that this was the first time he'd pushed a kid in the water. While I couldn't hear what the kid said to Cooper, I could clearly see that Cooper didn't say anything to him. And even if Cooper did speak to him, it would have been his three-year old speak - and nothing to cause that kind of anger.
I don't know. I guess I'm struggling with how I'm going to protect Harlie and Cooper from someone pushing them in the water. It adds another challenge and burden to the pool. I worried about them losing their balance and falling in, but I certainly didn't worry about them being pushed in by a complete stranger!
Thank God he's okay. It will be years and years before I can relax at the pool, huh?