Thursday, June 17, 2010

moments we learn from

I don't think the scares will ever stop when it comes to our kids.  The kind of scares that really make your heart stop.  That make you wonder "what if". What if I had been too late.  The kind of scare that you won't ever forget, and hopefully will never do again. 

The first one I remember was when Adi was about 4 weeks old. We had gone out to breakfast with some friends.  She was still in the "bucket" car seat.  The ones that snap into a base in your car, but can be toted along like a handbag when the baby is sleeping.  So naturally we tucked her sleeping self under our arm, seat and all, and headed to breakfast. We unbuckled her and passed her around, being that she was the new baby and all, everyone wanted to hold her. Then we tossed her back in the bucket, snapped the bucket into the base in the car and headed the 7 minutes home.  Once at home, we realized that while we snapped the seat into the base but we failed to actually buckle Adi into the carseat itself. One little fender bender, or worse, could have sent her flying, I thought. It's funny, 2 1/2 yrs later, that I'm actually blogging about this.  For months after that I couldn't tell anyone about the incident. I didn't want to admit what maladjusted parents I thought we were. However,as far as I know, we have never done that again.

 Last summer, Adi and I headed to the grocery store. It was 8:30 am and getting hot.  Somehow when I put Adi back into her carseat (hmmm the car seats keep being involved....I swear I learn my lessons) she clicked the lock on my key that caused the car to lock, but the door was still open.  I didn't know she clicked the button at the time. I thought it'd be easiest to just  leave the purse/diaper bag in the car to be "quick" then ended up juggling a toddler, keys, wallet, cellphone, 2 bags of food in one hand, a jug of milk in the other and a bottle of wine under my arm. So I tossed my keys on the front seat as I often used to do, one less thing in my hands. Then, once Adi was buckled in I shut the door. All four doors shut and locked. Adi inside. My keys inside. Summer sun getting hot. Sh*t. Then I cried and screamed and called my husband on my phone, which luckily was not in the car. He didn't answer. 15 calls later still no answer. Turns out he was in the shower. I called my neighbor and she could barely understand me as I tried to explain that Adi was locked in the car. She came over and got Andy's attention. He came and saved the day (it was probably about 10 min total but felt like an hour)Meanwhile Adi sat happily in her seat and I made funny faces at her and sang songs through the shut glass in between turning my head to cry and scream (so of course she didn't see me panic). I NEVER shut all four doors of any car now without the keys in my hand, even if I am positive the car is unlocked and the keys are in my bag, Never.

Later, when I was telling a friend about my horrifying experience she told me she knew people who had done that before. When I asked her what they did she said "cried, screamed and called 911." So I guess I wasn't too far off.

In the last 2 1/2 years, lots of these things have happened. Incidents that leave your heart racing and your nights haunted with dreams of being locked behind bars for leaving your child to swelter in the car in July. And today I did it again. This one was bad! While I never hope this happens to any moms out there, please reassure me that it has and its okay. Because I'm having trouble shaking this one.

We headed to the pool with some friends for a fun "real pool" play date. It was one of those pools that has the kiddie side where the water starts on flat ground and gradually gets deeper. It's really fun and actually manageable for little ones who can't swim yet. The day was going great. Between all of us there are 4 moms and 1 dad, not including the lifeguard and all the other moms standing in the wading area.

I walked about 10 feet away into the grass to change Belay's diaper and asked my friends to keep their eyes on Adi. I also kept my eye on her the whole time I was in the grass with Belay. I watched as she wadded into the pool and keep walking as the water got deeper. She was literally in a circle of adults. Then I watched as she tripped, or so that's how it looked, and fell face first into the pool. Then she didnt get up. I was already halfway to her shouting "get Adi get Adi "over and over again. She honestly looked like she had already drowned. I grabbed her and she screamed and all the moms and I cried and screamed.  Then, when we all calmed down and replayed it one mom said, " when I looked down and saw her, her eyes where open and she was just looking around." It was true, she wasn't flailing her arms or splashing trying to get up. She was floating face down looking in the water.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or bad. If she was drowning and had I not got to her would she have known to splash and flail and lift her head so someone would notice. Or, was she totally content watching the water, not knowing yet that she couldn't breath under there. Either way I got to her in probably less than 3 seconds. She may not have gotten so upset had we all not been hysterical.  No wonder no one noticed her. She was totally still and silent (not that that is an excuse because the way I was screaming was pretty hard to ignore). After a few minutes of snuggling and crying she asked if she could "go swimming like a fish again." And when we got home, she told daddy that she "saw fishies while she was swimming like a fish, and it was a little scary." Was she drowning or just "swimming like a fish?" Either way it was terrifying and if I had not been watching her like a hawk and left Belay midway through diaper change to sprint into the pool and grab her what would have happened. I'm so glad I didn't find out and I hope I never will again.


  1. Those moments are not fun & they are definitely hard to shake. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart...I wish we could always be there, but they keep growing up & we have to keep letting them go. In the meantime, we teach them as much as we can, including how to swim...lol. Kearsten was very much like Adi; no fear of really anything & I recall pulling her off the bottom of the pool. She is turning 19 this Saturday & is a certified lifeguard. ;o)

    Hang in there, Momma, & buy a box of hair color.

  2. Please don't be too harsh with yourself. Sounds to me like you were Super Mom - running the rescue just like any Super Mom would! And I have to share this story - just so you'll know you are not alone. When I was 3 yrs old (circa 1972), my parents took me with them to Miami. We stayed at a hotel with a pool. I had a little swim jacket that I'd wear so I would be safe in and by the pool. My mom's story is that after lunch we went back to the pool and as she got our stuff set out on the table and chairs, I jumped DIRECTLY into the 8ft end of the pool, sans floatie! My memory is of looking up from the bottom of the pool thinking "wow, look at the sky, it's wrinkly!" Her memory is of screaming at the top of her lungs while my Dad came running, dove in and pulled me up. I apparently coughed a bit and then laughed and asked if I could go back down. I think the view of the sky was just really pretty! I learned a VERY important lesson that day (never go in the pool without your floatie!) and I was ok. So glad Adi is ok and hope you can look back someday and laugh. My family tells this story, with much laughter, ALL THE TIME!

  3. What a scare Jane, I am glad everyone is OK!!
    and as Maureen said, don't be to hard on yourself.. you were doing exactly everything right!!

  4. thanks ladies. Just what I needed to hear. Thanks for the similar stories too. I know I can't be the only one. I was really hoping to make it to at least 30 before I needed the hair color, but at this rate...:)

  5. I would give you similar stories too, Jay, but your were there. But at least you know how I felt...like when I had to get the ski patrol out to find your sisters or when I let you play in CB's backyard which happened to back onto hundreds of acres of forest and you were brought back by police car after dark. Sigh - but you get through it all until one day you have a child going through it. I love you!