Monday, August 24, 2009

Stupid mommy

My oldest son, who just turned 4, began swimming this summer alone in the pool.(While wearing a life jacket). He was so brave - jumping in, swimming to the deep end, having fun. It was amazing to see him swimming with no fear, from one end of the pool, to the other. I was so proud.

Then my sister got a pool in her backyard. We were all excited, and Christos loved watching the diggers and all the construction work going on in her backyard as the pool was being put in.

One day, as the men were working in the backyard, I was talking to my mom and Christos. I told them about this scary show I saw once about a girl whose hair gut stuck in the drain of a pool. She ended up drowning.

"So this girl was swimming in the pool, and all of a sudden, her hair got stuck in the drain! And she was trying and trying to get out and she couldn't! She couldn't breathe... couldn't move... she was gasping for air... and then she drowned." I said to my mom. And oops, to my son, as well.

The episode I'm talking about was either on Dr. Who or Twilight Zone. Probably Twilight Zone, although I don't remember for sure. (Remember that show?)

Yup. I said this in front of my child. The one who was not afraid to swim in the deep end, near the drains or jets.

Maybe I shouldn't have said this story while my son was around, because ever since, he will not swim in the deep end. He will not. He refuses to leave the steps. He'll swim around a bit in the shallow end, and that's it.

I gave my son a fear.

Of swimming. Even though he was NOT afraid of swimming a few months ago.

I gave my son a fear of swimming. I did this. Can you say 'bad mommy'? Because that is what I feel like. I have told him over and over again that the story was not real, it was just a TV show, that nothing will happen to him if he swims away from the stairs, that he will be fine. I demonstrate for him, by swimming in the deep end, going deep under water, and showing him I'm fine. But nothing. He will not move. He is frozen in the shallow end.

One step forward, two steps back.

23 comments:

Kelly said...

I'm sorry that this happened...but trust me, I think we've all done something like this at one point. My son is scared to ride his bike (even though he knows how) because I told him how I fell off when I was a kid and had to get stitches. We try to do the best we can, but it does happen. You aren't a bad mommy, I promise!!! :)

Reluctant Housewife said...

Oh no! but he'll get past this fear, I'm sure. I'd just let him stay at the stairs and don't talk about the deep end/drains/underwater for a little while.

I'm often not careful enough what I say in front of my boys. And, like you, I'll realize oops! maybe they shouldn't have heard that.

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

I feel for you. If it's your own pool, maybe you can put some kind of drain screen on it and tell him that prevents anything bad from happening??

Mommy Lisa said...

Maybe by next summer he will have totally forgotten you said anything?

Don't worry - we all do it!

Jessica said...

I was a lifeguard and swim instructor for years and one of the most dangerous things you can have on a pool deck is a child with zero fear of the water.

I know you feel terrible that it was your story that sparked his fear, but really, I don't see it as anything so terrible.

Eventually, as his skills increase with lessons or whatever, he'll get back in the deep end but he will always respect the scariness of a pool. It could end up being a really good thing in the end.

Kell said...

wow what a strange coincidence .. the same exact thing happened to me when i was like 6 or 7. me and my dad were watching a show and it was an actual news story of this happening to a little girl. it took me awhile, but slowly i eased my way back out into the deep end with a little coaxing from my dad. after awhile, im pretty sure i just forgot about it & im sure your son will, too.. no worries!

LZ @ My Messy Paradise said...

Live and learn...He'll be fine, and will never grow his hair long...

I agree about a drain screen...or even some sort of fake thing. It's amazing what they think is magic!

The Sophisticated Country Girl said...

The fact that you wish you could take it back and even recognize that maybe he shouldn't have heard that is enough to show you are a REALLY good mom! ...

Chantal said...

Oh I know that story, and it scares me too. My son is also a fearful one (my oldest). I find it takes time but things improve. Just keep reassuring him and bringing him to the pool and eventually he will get past his fear.

Linda @ My Trendy Tykes said...

Awww.....LOL I have also told some of those "scary" stories around little ears and been like OOOPS!

Just this morning I was watching the news where a little girl got stuck in one of those pool filter things. They were able to get her out thank goodness. SCARY!

Liza said...

I think we all make mistakes like this, I know I do. I have said stuff to my girls from time to time that have created some definite fears in them and I have SO regretted it afterwards like you. I think there is such a fine line between being honest with kids and scaring them, you know? In any case, you sound like a great mom. Your son will just have to come to a comfort level about this on his own probably. Virtual mommy hug!!

Liza
**My blog is private, but I love to get new readers - send me a request to add you!!**

Courtney Kirkland said...

Aw. I hate this happened. I think that happens to everyone at one point or another. I guess we just don't always realize how much our kids take things to heart.

CaraBee said...

I like what Jessica said, while it might feel like you have done something wrong, maybe you have awakened a greater respect for the very real dangers in pools. Don't beat yourself up, I am quite confident that if something like that is the only unintended thing my child ever hears from my lipes then I will consider myself one giant success as a parent.

Chandra said...

It won't be the first mistake or even the second you make...he'll get over that fear soon enough if he trully loves swimming (which apparently he does!)...it's just a 4yr old letting his imagination get the best of him..I do it from time to time as well. :)

Catwoman said...

Well, here's the good news... You live in Ottawa, so summer will be over in about 2 weeks.

By the time it's summer again, Christos will have long forgotten that story and his fear and he'll pick up where he left off!

:)

Mad Mom said...

Mine is too young for us to have given him any complexes yet. I'm sure that my fear of all creatures with more than four legs will somehow be passed down.

There are tons of things that freak us out when we're little. I'm sure she'll get over it. I guess it's a good time to teach her about pool safety again and how she won't drown if she's safe.

Neena said...

I did the same thing with snakes and spiders, but I had good reason!!!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

SOunds like something I do, you know, like make my kids scared of ax murderers and such! He'll get over it!

2 Little Irish Boys said...

Oh, bless your heart! Look at it this way at least it is the end of the summer! I try to be so careful-I don't even want anyone saying anything about something being dead!!

Elaine A. said...

Oh honey, we've all done things like this before. Try not to beat yourself up about it too much!

He will eventually get over it, I'm sure. Just keep getting him in the pool and I'm sure before you know it he'll be swimming in the deep end again! : )

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

Loukia, I am famous for doing this! I get so into telling my story I foget to look around and see who might be listening. He'll eventually figure out the chances of it happening are slim to none expecially when he's wearing a life jacket.

Don't beat yourself up! Or else you have to beat me up too and I am a wimp ;)

Lady Mama said...

Don't be hard on yourself. It really sucks when that happens - I'm sure every parent has put their foot in it at some point. But I'm sure he'll forget all about it and be back in the swimming pool in no time!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

I am totally with you about the scariness of drains. I jumped into my grandparents' pool when I was a little girl, and I got caught on the drain. Not sure if it was my hair that got caught, or a half-deflated floaty I was wearing, or what. But my aunt had to jump in and save me. It was terrifying and I remember it to this day, but I don't remember refusing to swim in the deep end later on. So, if I could actually get stuck and get over the fear, hopefully he will forget about the scary story by next summer! And if not, well, at least you know he'll stay away from scary drains.

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