Olivia Vs. Water

After my post last week, I realized that I never posted about a seriously scary incident that happened last summer. I think I was too traumatized to write about it at the time.

Every single child I’ve ever met that has Cri du Chat loves the water. I’m not talking about oh-sure-I’d-like-to-take-a-bath love of water, but serious crack addiction love of water. Olivia is no different. She is obsessed with water. We have child-proof locks on all of our bathroom doors in order to keep her from flooding the house—but she still manages to get in sometimes. If there’s water, she wants in it and she wants in it now. It’s great but at the same time, it’s scary. And annoying.

Last summer, three of my friends from high school decided to meet at a park to catch up and let our kids play. This particular park has a pool but it wasn’t open until 11 and we would be leaving before then so I wasn’t worried about keeping Olivia’s interest away from the water.

We settled in and started playing. The kids played on the swings, the monkey bars, the merry-go-round, the slide. My 3 friends and I split up so we could keep track of everyone. One of my friends was in charge of the sandbox area and that’s where Olivia was playing. (Did I mention she also has a deep love of sand and dirt? Mixed with water? Now you understand why summer is stressful for me…)

I stood talking to my other friend and all of a sudden I noticed that Olivia was not in the sandbox anymore. I hollered over to my friend “Where’d Olivia go?” She was literally standing right next to her. She didn’t see her leave. I thought it was no big deal she probably just went over to the slide. My boys were helping to look and starting to get worried as well. Nope, not there. Ok, she’s probably over on the merry-go-roung or tire swing. Nope, not there. I’m starting to panic a little. But seriously, we were all standing right there and now she’s gone.

All of a sudden it hits me. The pool. The one that’s not open yet.

I tossed off my flip-flops and ran as fast as I could. My boys were right behind me.

I passed the “guard” who was checking people in for swimming lessons. He was reading a book and had his ipod on. Clearly not someone who’s going to notice a fully-clothed little girl with special needs heading for the pool.

I finally got to the pool and there she was in all her glory. Fully-clothed, shoes, glasses and all, splashing around in the shallow end. Thank God she was ok. I felt like I was going to throw up with relief. I grabbed her out of the pool and hugged her tight. I really couldn’t yell or get mad because she didn’t know what she did was wrong.

After I finished hugging her, I looked around. There were 5 Moms sitting in lawn chairs reading magazines while their kids were taking swimming lessons. Not one of them tried to stop Olivia or get her out of the pool or came looking for me. Not one. I’m sure they were judging me for letting her get out of my sight…but really they just needed to walk a day in my shoes and see how quickly it can happen. And shame on them for not helping a fully-clothed girl out of the pool and back to her Mom. I can only hope that if she would have gone in the deep end, they would have intervened.

I went back out to the park area with my friends. Two of them I hadn’t seen in years and really didn’t know much about Olivia. They probably didn’t understand. But I was soaking wet, felt like I was going to puke, Olivia was soaked, the boys were upset but relieved. So we left.

I’m pretty sure we all took a good nap that day.

And this is how it is every time we’re around water. Constantly on guard and scared that Olivia will somehow get into the water without us. Because, like I said, it’s her crack, man.

14 responses to “Olivia Vs. Water

  1. Is there a specific reason that children with Cri du Chat love the water so much?

    Your post gave me the goosebumps just reliving my own experiences with water and my nephew. It’s amazing how quite a Mom’s sixth sense kicks in and how quick we are take action.

    My family always tells me I’m too observant. I watch people too closely. I just hope if I had been one of those mom’s I would’ve noticed the situation and helped.

  2. We have no idea why the kids with CdC love water so much…but they ALL do. It’s cool and interesting!!! We always say they should research it…but of course there’s no money for that! šŸ˜‰

  3. That is a scary story on many levels! I had no idea of the connection between water and CdC – interesting.

    Hope you have a great week!

  4. OMG, how terrifying. I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach; I had to drag Chuckles out of the deep end (she went under and couldn’t get to the surface) during a swim lesson when the instructor wasn’t looking. That feeling in my stomach lasted for weeks.

  5. OMG! That is some story. But, am I losing it or did you actually share this at another point in time? I THINK YOU DID, Tiffany! LOL!!! Don’t feel bad, it was good to read again. My little one loves water, but I have a fear of water myself (deep water) so I’m sooooooo cautious – even in the bath! YIKES!

  6. Wow that made me feel sick just reading. I can only imagine how scared you were. Hard to believe so many people were around that didn’t notice a child with all her clothes on and thought “hmm maybe she shouldn’t be there by her self?” Thankgoodness she was OK and just playing in she shallow end.

  7. I would have puked. I am glad it turned out ok. That is my biggest fear. Loosing my child.

  8. Oh man, I could feel the panic in that story! When you said you threw off your flip flops, I threw mine off too and ran (obviously not literally. I just felt that connected to what you were saying).

    Olivia needs a water dog, like a lab or something. They would be perfect companions for each other. My sister use to have a chocolate lab and that dog was every bit as drawn to water as you described Olivia to be.

  9. Wow….. My heart was racing for you. It made me recall when Eli was about 18 months old. We were at the lake and he was running through the very shallow water when a wave tripped him up and he went face first in. I was only a couple steps from him but was terrified. Water can be an amazingly fun adventure and also your worst nightmare. Glad she came out of this ok!!!!

  10. That is so scary. I can’t imagine how you must have felt. Congratulations on hugging your daughter first. So many parents would have automatically started yelling or demeaning out of fear. You showed her how you actually felt.

    But still. So scary.

  11. that was me. the mom who was in charge of the sandbox. seriously, olivia was like the sidler (did i spell that right?) from seinfeld? she was there. right there! and then i blinked and she was gone. obviously, my panic could not be any place near the level of tiffany’s panic but just re-reading this got my heart thumping again too! i’m sooooo sorry tiffany. i’m glad she was fine and that i gave you some good meat for a blog. šŸ™‚

  12. Oh, how terrifying!! We had a bad pool incident that I wrote about last summer. That pit in my stomach lasted for quite a while. Truthfully, now that I have kids, I absolutely hate the pool. And I know I will until they are able to swim across it completely on their own. I have a long way to go with this. So, more swim lessons this summer and the first ones for R.

  13. Lauren Offerle

    We can totally relate to the water thing. Luke absolutely loved water when he was younger! Thank god we had friends with nice private pools because he would splash half the water out of it. šŸ™‚ Here’s maybe something to look forward to tho… ever since Luke was about twenty five, he has only liked to stick his feet in! At bathtime, however, we still need to double up the shower curtains šŸ˜‰

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