Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Fright of my life

Hubby and I had a fright of the worst sort. We took our Offspring for his swim lesson after a three week break (just the way City programs are organised). He loves the water, his swim lessons and was looking forward to seeing his old friends. We had warned him his old friends may not be there and that he would have a new teacher. His first reaction was, "I want my Jessica." He eventually warmed up to the new teacher and three boys, including ours, got in the pool. The class limit was four children so I knew one more would join them. These are all children under five and our little fella was the youngest.

So I set him up and went out to the viewing area to watch. Hubby and I were a little taken aback at how quickly the instructor was getting the kids to put their head under water, etc. We were not too worried because this was his second session and he had done those things with the old instructor, albeit, nearly six weeks after he began lessons. After all, these lessons (called Preschool Swim) are meant to get the children ready for serious swim lessons at age five. It is not meant to have them training to compete or anything. He was doing okay, coped well with the dunk and was still chattering away.

Midway through the class an obviously boisterous boy joined the group. That was the fourth kid on the list. His mother took a seat next to us and laughed at how stubborn the boy was and that he would not follow instructions. Hubby and I did not find it funny and got a bit anxious at what would happen if he dragged one of the other kids into the water with all his antics. But things progressed okay.

In the last four minutes or so the teacher put them on a large float and pulled the float asking all four of them to beat their legs. They were doing okay until she went under water to check something (I am still not clear on what she went to check) when two children, including our Offspring went under water!! My heart is racing even as I write this. She grabbed one kid, our guy was still gone, then she got him! And let him go again. I ran into the pool area and by the time I got to them she had him and he was crying. I picked him up, so relieved he was screaming his head off. Never have I been so happy to hear him cry. I was still shaking and in no mood to talk to anyone. I soothed my baby and rocked him for a while listening to him complain and how he wanted his Jessica back.

The reason why the teacher lost our son when she first grabbed him was because the boisterous little monkey rocked the float to hard. He was laughing. I know it is not his fault, he is but a child. But surely the teacher had to have a talk. This Jessica my son absolutely adores has had many chats with the Offspring. Our child is no angel, but today he did behave so very well and he was having such a good time until he went under water. It was the teacher's job to check kids who do not behave because the safety of the other children is at stake and that is what happened today.

My usually calm and collected Hubby let the instructor know he was not happy with how she was handling the kids and that she needed to check the kid who rocked the float so hard when she was trying to get the kids from under the water. After I had stopped shaking I brought him into the women's change room and was changing him, still not in the mood to talk to anyone when the boisterous kid's mother walked in cracked a joke about the drowning and how he should know to hold on. I snapped, I turned around and said, "you should try and chat to your son about listening to the teacher." It is all I said and she started yelling about me blaming her son. I was not, it was not his fault, but if he could just stay tuned to the other kids...I tried telling her I was not blaming her son but she wouldn't listen. I was angry at her partly because she finds her son's indifference to authority funny.

When I came out of the change room she was waiting outside and I told my husband what I had told her and she started yelling again about me not having manners and I should not speak about other people's children. I feel bad about the whole situation, but I was the mother who saw my kid go under water, he cannot swim, he is three years old!! I do not find any of it funny. None of the other mothers tried to joke about it. Everyone gave the little guy a pat on the back and said he should come back next week. No one spoke to me. I still need to have a good cry because I was so scared. I thought I lost my baby.

Perhaps I am very wrong with what I told the mother. Perhaps I should have apologized to her. I don't know. She does need to deal with her son. I deal with mine on a daily basis, especially about his interaction with other kids. Everyone's child is special and I do not want my son hurting someone else's baby.

The teacher was genuinely sorry and she said she would never do what she did today, going under water when the kids were on the float. It is disconcerting for children. I want to follow up with the pool folks on how they address incidents such as this. Neither Hubby nor I were in the state of mind to talk to anyone today. We were both angry and upset and wanted to leave.

I can't let this go, I have to go back and talk to the pool administrators and then maybe follow up with the City. But what I really want to do is just go away, away from this horrid City, away from people who cry racism for every little thing, away from all this political correctness...I just don't want to deal with any of this anymore! I need a time out.