Like any typical parent, my summer brain is about 30% focused on drowning. Then maybe 2% fun, and the rest is eaten up by nursing and sleep deprivation.
We have a neighborhood pool. It’s the greatest thing I could ever ask for in this life. Please, if you get the chance to live in a total shithole with a pool, or a nice house with no pool, choose the former.
But my children are ages one (almost two) and four, and they started the summer totally unable to swim, and also totally convinced they could swim. I mean every time we went to the pool they just walked right off the edge into the water. Much of the time, it’s just me juggling them in the pool, praying I don’t get distracted by something shiny and forget one of them exists. Thanks to an influx of some sweet grandma cash, we got them private swim lessons at our pool. But drowning is still a very real possibility in our really fun-tinged-with-terrifying world.
I’m supposed to practice dunking them under water, and boy is it scary. Both of them did this thing when we emerged from the water where they didn’t breathe for a few seconds. Of course my mind jumped to “THEY ARE CURRENTLY DROWNING” instead of “They held their breath successfully.”
Drowning is still one of the most common ways for children to die, even children who know how to swim. I’ve managed to maintain my high level of neurotic helicoptering of the children all summer, because I’m an expert. But I could see in a few years, as they learn to swim, that my anxiety will slip. When we’re at the pool, I’m always the only parent actually in the water. Most of the moms are checking out on their phones. THIS IS WHEN THE CHILDREN DROWN!!!
(Retracting hysteria now. You can come back)
So. I’m no scientist. This is about giving y’all ideas and the real geniuses can go figure it out. I have this magical smart watch that can measure how much sleep I get at night and how many steps I take and the color of my aura. Can’t we invent something waterproof for kids to wear that will alert the mother if the child has been submerged for the amount of time just shy of drowning? Maybe it’s a clear headband and the censor is at the top of the head or something. Go. Make it work!
I’m not looking to encourage parental laziness. I will always be hovering neurotically over my children. I just want to have less aneurysms about it. Please?