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MY ds has always LOVED the water....had a few phases of hating the bathtub, but overall has always liked to get in swimming pools, the beach, puddles, a plastic tub of water to splash in the yard, whatever. Doesn't like his face wet, but this is normal IMO for a little kid.<br><br>
Well a couple nights ago we were treated to a night at a motel with a pool. I had promised ds that he could get in, but our evening got mroe complicated than we anticipated, so it was close to 6 PM before we had a chance to take him. Since I didn't have a bathins suit anyway (I had planned to swim in shorts and an old shirt) I decided not to change, and to just take him down to put his feet in the water adn then get ready for bed. It was really not that hot anymore anyway and I knew he'd be cold if he got in all the way. we only planned to stay at the pool for 5 minutes or so, jsut so he wouldn't feel like he didn't get what he'd been promised.<br><br>
anyway, their dad went on upstairs to straighten up the room and do whatever. Dd was in the sling on my chest and I was sitting right at the edge of the pool, in a chair, while ds sat at my feet dangling his legs in the water. All of this happened at the shallow end, where there where several shallow steps leading into the pool. There were other kids as well who were sitting/playing on the first step or two where the water was only a foot or so.<br><br>
anyway, ds was standing on the step, jsut kinda looking around, and he lost his footing somehow and stumbled face-forward into the water. there were other kids there ranging from abpout 5 - 12 years old, and for a split second I thought one of them would notice and grab him, but they were busy splashing around and all I saw was him going under. When he slipped, he slipped into a part of the pool that was 3 ft deep, and he is 35 inches tall, so not big enough to keep his head above water.<br><br>
anyway, please don't laugh at me, but my gut, instant reaction was to jump out of my chair and step into the water, down the steps, and pull ds up out of the water. apparently I looked pretty silly because I was holding dd up in the sling with the other hand, to keep her out of the water. I dont' know how I did it, but all that went through my head was "OMG one of my kids is going to drown." i was so shaken up that we left immediately and I spent the next couple hoiurs being irrationally mad at SO for not being there when it happened even though he hadn't actually done anything wrong and couldn't have predicted that would happen, I was just so shaken up by it.<br><br>
My point in this whole long story is that because of both the actual falling in the pool, and my over-the-top reaction to it (which I woudn't normally respond taht way to things, but I have anxiety issues and hadn't been taking my medication) ds is now terrified of the pool/beach.<br><br>
We went to the beach yesterday, having compltely forgotten about the pool indicent, and ds not only screamed bloody murder about being dragged into the water (which we promptly let him go back to the sand when we realized he wasn't just being silly), he didn't even want US in the water for fear that we would fall or drown or something.<br><br>
I really can't afford swim lessons, which I know would be the obvious answer. Does anyone have any tips to help him overcome this fear before it spirals into something major? I was able to get him to ride piggyback while I jumped over the tiniest of waves at the edge of the beach, and also to write in the sand at the edge where the water would come "erase" them, but even that was short-lived and very sketchy.<br><br>
I feel terrible about this....I dont' want our summer to be ruined. Beachgoing is a free activity and a staple of our social life since we're so broke <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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If you're planning to be at the beach a lot anyway, I'd just relax and forget about it. I wouldn't try forcing him into it, just go, let him play in the sand, offer to take him in the water if he wants, respect his decision. He'll come around, or at least that's my 2 cents.<br><br>
Also, just as an aside, I don't think your reaction was over the top at all. Seeing your LO in the water is terrifying at the gut level. My DS1 fell off the edge of our pool's spa into it when he was about 2-3 and my DH jumped in--fully clothed, shoes and all--rather than just reaching down and pulling him out by the arm. DS1 is 5 now and a great, fearless swimmer. So don't worry!
 

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My sarcastic self wants to just say fish him out!<br><br>
But, you did that. You are the little guy's hero. I think what you did was spot on. I know I would have done the same thing.<br><br>
Definately don't force the issue and talk about it. Role play. Give him time. Baby steps and all that.<br><br>
I think you're awesome.
 

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Just keep taking hism swimming. Set up pools in the backyard, and keep playing in the water. Waterplay is fun!<br><br>
Kids fall in. I think every kid in the world falls in. He'll forget about it. It's still early in the summer. He has all summer to get over it, and he will be having fun in the water in no time.
 

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We had a similar incident with my DS in March, but he's older (turned 6 in April) - he was in the hotel pool with my DH, 4 yo DD and my cousin (who is 25 or so) - DS decided to try to pick up one of those diving sticks with his foot, kicked it into the deeper water and found himself flailing around, while my step-mom, aunt and I screamed at DH and my cousin to GRAB DS! HE WENT UNDER! - not ideal way to react.<br><br>
My DS was also afraid of swimming after that - knowing that we had a big vacation (and lots of hotel pools to contend with) we bought arm floaties for him (and DD). He refused to go beyond the shallow end in them, but he still went in - he did need one of us right there with him the entire time as well. He wouldn't have done it at all if he didn't have floaties to help keep him up.
 

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My experience with children who are anxious around/in water is to provide them with lots of opportunity to overcome the anxieties (so frequent visits to the beach sounds great), but to minimize the issue. Don't make a big deal out of it and don't push him to get in the water. Just let him know that if he wants to have fun in the water, an adult will be there to support him and help him. If he does go into the water, try not to exhibit any anxieties you might be feeling - he'll be sure to pick up on them.
 

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I don't have advice about how to get him comfortable in the water again, but I wanted to say that your reaction was perfect. What else could you have done?<br><br>
My 3yo was taking swim lessons a few weeks ago - I was watching the lesson and there was a lifeguard on duty. He was holding on to the edge of the pool in about 4-5 feet of water. He pushed off the edge while the teacher had her back to him and sunk right to the bottom. I jumped up, looked around and jumped into the pool. Completely clothed, of course. The other parents were a little shocked and the teacher was really embarrassed that she'd let it happen, but really, he's my child and I had the fastest reaction.<br><br>
So good for you!!
 

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Our DS fell right in a hotel pool at 18 months and I jumped in after him, fully clothed. Of course - what other option is there? I bet you many many kids fall in the pool.<br><br>
I agree with the idea of just proceeding with your summer plans. Swimming lessons at this point might even just make more of a deal out of it. Just tell him - hey, kids fall in; parents pull them out. You are already getting plenty of evidence of this. He can spend a lot of happy time playing in the sand and getting used to the idea of the water again.<br><br>
I think your idea of lots of play at the water's edge is right on. There is no need for more than that until he's ready.
 

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Just keep bringing him to the pool & beach. Keep it really low key but give him lots of opportunity to normalize around the water again.
 

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If you have a local YMCA and money is an issue, I know that they offer sliding scale memberships based on income. At our Y, the swim lessons come free with your membership.
 

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At around 2, got knocked over by a huge wave into the ocean. It terrified me. I turned out to be a fantastic swimmer as a child and won awards for diving.<br>
I can still swim my butt off!
 

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You're not alone.<br><br>
A couple of weeks ago I took DS to the Y to play in the pool. Towards the end of the evening I was gathering up his toys, and noticed that one of the measuring spoons had floated to the deep end of the pool. I should have carried DS with me while I went after it, but I tried to get it on my own. DS saw me and started to follow... walking himself underwater. He wasn't close enough to the edge to grab it, and once underwater he had no idea what to do. I gave up on the spoon and ran for him, getting him up. He spluttered a bit and I called a lifeguard over, but he resumed breathing on his own.<br><br>
We did stay a little longer that evening in the water, enjoying the shallow end. I carried him to retrieve the last toy.<br><br>
They're young. I agree with pp's not to make a huge deal of it. Keep leading him to water and letting him decide whether to enter or not, and how deep (within your comfort zone) he wants to go. Lately DS has liked sitting down right at the corner where the ramp turns. He can sit comfortably with the water around chest height. Sometimes we can bring him deeper, but he keeps being drawn back to that spot.<br><br>
Swim lessons start next week, we'll follow his cues from there.
 

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I am so lost as to what else you should have done besides go in and save him. He's three right? Are you embarrassed because you thought it would be better to just leave him? Do you think he would have gotten out of the situation himself? Is he a strong swimmer?<br><br>
As for him being afraid of the water, I think some fear is healthy. Hopefully it won't keep him from getting in the water all summer. But my guess is that if he has lots of opportunities to swim and isn't forced, he'll eventually get in.
 

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I can't understand how what you did was an overreaction. From your siggy, he's 2 and a half -- what other option was there besides going in and getting him from underwater?<br><br>
Anyway, I think he'll come back around to enjoying water play on his own soon enough. It sounds like you guys spend a fair amount of time near water, so all that exposure will be good for him, and if doesn't feel like getting in for a while that's okay. My niece wouldn't get in a pool until she was almost 4, and her parents just let her hang out on the sidelines until she was ready, and she loves swimming now at age 6!
 

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I would've been in that pool fully-clothed so fast your head would spin, OP! I don't think you overreacted at all.
 
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