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.