Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What Does Drowning Look Like

So some of you may have noticed I haven't written in awhile.  There are two reasons for this.  One I'm feeling slightly bitter.  I put the cutest video of Peach up and I didn't get one comment, and I'm not just talking blog here people, grandma's I didn't hear a peep from you via text message or phone call.  Sister I know you broke you jaw this week and are moving in two, but hello that was so cute and we've talked twenty times since I posted.  No one said a thing.  So I've been sulking, because if no family is actually looking at these pictures and videos, is there a point in me posting them?  I mean it is my journal but if I had no journal would it really be the end of the world?  So there has been that, my bad attitude I guess you could say, but probably more important is the fact that second, school ended a week and half ago and I've been busy. I've got four kids and a husband who works all the time, so the moments when I can sit and compose myself enough to blog, well they are few and far between.  But tonight my hubby is on call and my kids are asleep and so I wanted to share this article I read because IT IS SUPER IMPORTANT AS WE HEAD TO THE POOL AND BEACH THIS SUMMER!!!!

Check out the link, it is definitely worth it.  My own life experiences have shown this to be entirely accurate.  The first is from my young teenage years.  We had this fun family that lived across the street from us growing up.  They had a couple of kids who were the same age as my younger sisters and for whatever reason they liked us.  I babysit their kids and they paid well.  They had a pool they let us use.  They had a beach house in Mexico that they'd take us along to and they had a really sweet boat and four wheelers...a lot of the exciting things I got to do as a kid revolved around them.  One day we were at their house for a family party.  There were tons of adults and kids everywhere.  I was in the kitchen with the wife and my mom, adults were out at the pool as well as many children.  All the sudden Keri dropped the dish she was working on, ran out the backdoor and jumped into the pool fully clothes.  What she could see through her back window that all the other adults had missed was that her youngest was just bobbing under the water.  He was no longer coming up.  There was no splashing, no distress, he was just floating there a few inches of water above his head keeping him from the air his lungs so desperately needed.  He was a good swimmer, but was young (maybe 5) and in the deep end and had just gotten too worn out to push himself off the bottom or swim to the side.  He ended up being fine but I often wonder what would have happened had she not noticed him silently floating.  How long it would have taken the other people surrounding him in the pool to realize he was not ok. 

The second time I want to talk about was with Dr. J.  We were in this really swanky hotel in Luxor (well swanky by my standards) swimming in this giant pool.  Dr. J decided to swim Captain E ( A two year old at the time) across the pool, but right when he was at the middle of the deepest part of the pool he just lost all his strength.  My husband has a lot of strength for his size, but he is not a great swimmer and floating for him is nearly impossible because of his super low body fat.  Adding on Captain E's extra twenty pounds put his density at to high to float and since he only had one hand to swim with, the other was holding our toddler, he just couldn't tread water fast enough to stay up.  I was standing on the side of the pool and I saw him do the weirdest thing.  One second he was paddling along with one hand and the next he simply sunk under the water and put our baby up into the air with one hand.  It was at that moment I realized he was in trouble.  I jumped into the pool.  Swam over as fast as I could and grabbed Captain E.  With my overabundance of body fat floating my way back to the shallow end was easy even with twenty extra pounds.  With the freedom of his arm and the loss of the extra weight Dr. J was able to push himself off the bottom of the pool and swim to the side.  I asked him what he thought was going to happen by putting Captain E up in the air and he told me he just hoped someone would see him and come and get him before Dr. J passed out and couldn't keep the baby above water anymore. 

Both of these instances were completely silent.  By the time they realized they were in trouble neither could yell and there was literally no splash to draw you attention.  If your eyes wouldn't have been on them you wouldn't have even known there was a problem.  Which brings me to this summer.

We've gone to the pool twice now and with four kids it can be a crazy.  There are two life guards watching the pool at all times but I've got a very adventurous 19 month old and three times have had to grab her up from the water where she has face planted and is doing a completely silent dead mans float.  All three of these times were in the baby pool in water she could easily stand in, but young toddlers seem to completely lack the ability to push themselves up once they go face first into the water.  Luckily I was near by and could scoop her up quickly.  I then have Peach who is a non swimmer and yet wants to float into the four feet and beyond side on a raft and Gigi and Captain E who are  budding swimmers but I can see sometimes as they are moving through the water their strokes start to slow and they get a little swamped.  They never call for help.  Oh sure I hear "help" and screaming all the time when I'm in the pool but is involves my kids scrapping over toys or gleeful splash wars.  When there is real trouble they never say a word and their splashing is almost non existent.  I love to be in the water.  I think it is the Arizona in me but a summer without a pool is unbearable.  I love to have my kids there.  I can't imagine a summer without swimming and we have invested and will continue to invest in swim lessons for our children because I think a life skill all people should have whether they enjoy it or not is the ability to swim, but I also recognize there is a danger in the water and that as parents we have an obligation to be constantly on alert.  There is no substitute for your eyes on your child and that's why it's important to know what you should be looking for.  Not surprisingly media has completely corrupted what we think drowning looks and sounds like.  Media is wrong.   So read the article, to know what you are looking for, and then be safe and enjoy your summer!


  1. AGREED. I am horrified by some of the attitudes toward swimming with (or more often withOUT) children here. It ranges from not teaching children of a certain gender to swim, ever, to sending multiple children to the pool with a nanny who cannot swim and who, furthermore, sits on the edge of the pool checking her mobile the whole time! Or just throw the kid in with floaties and go to the gym next door. Horrifying. Every once in a while I feel like I'm erring too much on the side of caution - my kids cannot go to the pool without either me or Jeremy there. No exceptions. And they can swim quite well! But it only takes a few moments. Your stories make me feel better about being so strict about this rule.

    There is a lifeguard on duty at our pool, by the way. The one who used to be on duty a lot had every kid's swimming ability memorized. Seriously - if he knew some kids were weak and there w/o parental supervision he would just camp out at the edge of the pool where they were swimming and stare at them. Bravo.

  2. So true! Thanks for the reminder.

    I did actually see a good portrayal of drowning in "Call the Midwife." The main character was struggling in the pool, and it looked just like it really would. I was proud of them for not over dramatizing it to be exciting. It was actually much, much more creepy. Thankfully she was fine in the end.

    Headed to the pool in just a few minutes actually! Thanks again for the good reminder!

    And PS- I know how you feel. There are some posts of mine that I think are the cutest, funniest things ever that I don't get comments on and it's SAD!!

  3. Yup. As a lifeguard (former) I have to say that...yup...I'm terrified of such situations. Seriously, arm's length, all the time. But it's SO hard with three kids who all want to do different things at once. Gah!

    And as for Peach's movie, I plead the fifth! We had no interent until today. :)

  4. I loved this post; speaking as a semi-pro drowner, I think you nailed it.



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