Because my son nearly drowned several years ago, I am paranoid about letting him swim in another family’s pool, even people I know. If I am at home, I can be in the water if not very nearby. I watch him like a hawk although by now he has learned how to swim. He can even dive from the side of our pool. Nonetheless, I have been apprehensive about Ian attending a pool party in a friend’s backyard. I don’t let him go to the community pool as a rule. It is too chaotic. He would be heartbroken if he had to miss the festivities and all the kids have been talking about it. He is pretty excited. I must give in.
I found out as much as I could about the pool including its size and location. Who will be present acting as the adult lifeguard I dutifully asked? I even checked out the other guests and what food would be served, so what could go wrong? Well something did because Ian came home less than elated. He loved the pool and the way it had been heated to a very nice temperature due to the gas tankless water heater installed by the house. You can see photos of them at https://www.waterheaterwatch.com/best-gas-water-heater-reviews/. I have heard that they are wonderful at their job and save homeowners on energy and water usage. This means something when you have a pool. I asked Ian what went on and he described the horseplay and constant splashing. There were so many kids in the water that he couldn’t show off how he could swim. Once he was dunked by a rambunctious older child which caused him to panic. This should not have been allowed.
I called the parents and berated them for letting a known bully attend. They should have noted his behavior right from the start. Ian was frightened and wanted to go home even before eating his hamburger. He apparently was not ready for this event despite his initial excitement. I felt very bad for the little guy. Next time, I will make sure no one rough houses with you, I said gently. But would there be a next time? I didn’t count on it at that moment. Kids go through so much in their young lives – so many trials and tribulations. Swimming in a backyard pool, however, shouldn’t be one of them. A nice social opportunity turned sour because of one incident.
The parents apologized a million times and invited both Ian and me over for a reprise of the pool party. The bully would not be present of course. I refused and explained that it was too soon. Given the near drowning in my child’s early life, it would have to wait. I don’t want to be overprotective and scar Ian for life, but I have to draw the line somewhere. If I can head off problems in the future, his swimming experience will be so much better.