Today we went to a Memorial Weekend (since it wasn't actually Memorial Day) pool party at the house of one of Dave's coworkers. They have a beautiful house in Los Altos, with a pool and hot tub in the backyard, and kids welcome. Gabriel helped me make pumpkin bread to bring (he loves to help me bake), and we arrived around 12:30 for the party.
It was chilly and windy the day before, but today was pretty nice. We got the boys ready to get in the pool, but didn't let them in until I was ready too. It's times like this I'm so glad they've had swim classes, because they're comfortable and happy in the water, and I'm very in touch with their abilities and dangers. So, I hung out next to the pool watching them while they played at first, then later got in myself to play with them. Gabriel wasn't allowed onto a big floatable dinosaur until he demonstrated that he could swim across the short end of the pool, and he passed.
One time, before I was in the water with them, Julian stepped off into water too deep for him, and I saw right away that he wasn't going to get back on his own, but I also knew how much time he had. He took about 4 breaths while I got to him and pulled him out, he coughed once or twice, then went on as usual. I think a few onlookers were a little alarmed, perhaps mostly at my cavalier attitude about it! Well, not that cavalier: at the time, I wasn't worried at all, but later that night, the image of Julian paddling to keep his head above water haunted me. Drowning is a silent death, and a few more seconds of that and he'd have been in serious trouble. Will there ever be a time in which my head is turned just a few moments too long? Not this time.
While Dave and I sat by the pool and watched the boys, a little girl got in with an inflatable ring. Dave commented that her parents seemed nowhere to be found, but I said a parent could be anywhere nearby, we couldn't tell. The girl was about 6 years old, maybe she was a trustworthy swimmer too. Inflatable toys in pools make me especially nervous -- kids can easily drift in over their heads and get into trouble. We weren't allowed to play on those truck inntertubes (and what FUN those were!) until we passed a swimming test. But maybe by that girl's age you stop being ultra diligent?
Well, it turned out that her parents indeed were nowhere to be found -- they were inside the house getting a tour. And, it turned out she couldn't swim at all and seemed to depend on the toy inflatable ring to keep her up. I was really shocked. If swim lessons have given me nothing else, it's much better awareness/paranoia of water danger than most parents seem to have. If the parents had asked us to keep an eye on her, that'd have been fine -- but let a 6-year-old into a pool, unsupervised, using an inflatable ring, and who can't swim, is really...well, unaware, I'll say. They seemed like very nice parents otherwise, I'm sure they thought she was safe, especially since she had the ring. Meanwhile, anyone who witnessed Julian's step into the deep would probably think we were the ones being too loosey-goosey.
To my amazement, Gabriel got cold first and then got out first -- that never happens! I found a water frisbee that skips nicely, and played catch with Julian in the water. His lips were blue and he was shivering, but he was having such a good time that he put up a huge fuss when we finally pulled him out of the water -- at 2:30pm and he hadn't had lunch or nap yet. Mom once said that we Berry kids were like that too, shivering and freezing but still insisting on playing in the water. That's-a-my boy! They had a great time at the party, and so did we. Very nice people.
Dinner has really gotten to be annoying with the boys; they're constantly making obnoxious noises, bad behavior, timeouts...we barely squeaked through Sunday night's dinner with things intact enough to watch Thomas the Tank Engine. But I like watching it with them too, so I'm glad they finally shaped up.