Monday, June 30, 2008

I had all week

I woke up this morning with the dreaded realization that once again it's Lucy's swimming class day, and I have screwed up. The price of my screw-up will be paid in a small child's tears.

Several months ago five year old Lucy had a nightmare that she was being attacked by a "killer shark" which bit her hair and tore out a large chunk. Somehow in the dream she escaped the hair-biting shark, but this was no consolation. Overnight the same child who had been happily cavorting in swimming pools since she was six months old had a water phobia.

In what was not exactly a moment from the Parenting Hall of Fame, I let Lucy skip a lesson on the promise that she would go in the future without fussing. That turned out to be an empty promise from Lucy, who turned all subsequent Monday mornings into a hell of crying. I explained to Lucy over and over again that swimming is a safety skill and that she must improve for her own sake (Lucy can swim across a pool now if she has fins and goggles, and she can dogpaddle half way across the pool without fins). In return, Lucy offered to conscientiously shun all water for the rest of her life if I let her stop swimming lessons.

I've come close to crying myself, seeing Lucy's little chest heave with sobs at the side of the pool. I have enough backbone on this issue to force Lucy on because my Lucy nearly died by drowning at age two (I was watching her play in the pool at Camp Mather, but worried about getting too much sun, I asked the Sober Husband to get me my t-shirt. Rather than get up and carry it to me, he threw it hard, and it sailed over my head into the pool. I turned my back on little Lucy to give him a piece of my mind, and at that moment, she slipped off her float and went down. The lifeguard did not notice, but the amazing Kathy, head lifeguard, was around despite being off-duty, and she dove in, pulled out Lucy, and got Lucy to throwing up all the water she'd swallowed. Now the pool at Camp Mather is divided into three sections, shallow, mid-depth, and deep, and small children are barred from the mid-depth section. Kathy told me that this change was made specifically because of Lucy's near-drowning).

We thought that our annual trip to Camp Mather would fix this problem, since Lucy wouldn't be able to resist playing in the pool. However, Lucy had no problem determining that the Camp Mather pool is an obvious shark-free zone whereas the suburban pool where she takes lessons is clearly at high risk of shark infestation.

Last week I had a brainwave, after watching poor Lucy sob. "What if I made you a special necklace," I said, "something that tells sharks you are their queen? If it said 'Lucy is the Shark Queen', then the sharks will know to leave you alone." Lucy loved this idea.

I had one week, a busyish sort of week, to get this shark totem made, but I failed to do it. I did finish the children's Fairy Tree, a silver tree with brightly colored flowers where five fairies (the sixth one's legs fell off, and the children shun her) dwell, but I never got around to picking up the supplies needed to make an anti-shark necklace. It slipped my mind until I got out of bed this morning and said, "Fuck. I didn't make that shark necklace."

Lucy's still asleep, and I haven't had the opportunity to try out my new idea: writing "Lucy is the Shark Queen" and "Sharks Keep Away" on her with a Sharpie. Wish me luck.

19 comments:

Kerry said...

I'm reminded of The Shadow & The Star--see if you can find some Hawaiian chants and teach Lucy the shark song.

She has my sympathy. I had a similar fear of whales for 20 years from the same age.

hokgardner said...

I hope the writing in markers worked. I don't think I'd have come up with that solution.

We had a similar experience with my oldest a few years ago right before our annual beach trip. The father of one of her classmates helpfully told the whole class about the box jellyfish, which is so poisonous that a sting from even a baby one can KILL YOU! Nothing we said to reassure daughter about the fact that the beach where we were going to go didn't have box jellyfish reassured her. "But her dad is a scientist, and he knows everything!" was her response to all of our efforts to convince her.

Fortunately, once we got to the beach and she saw her friends playing, she forgot about the jellyfish.

And if it's any consolotion, I almost drowned when I was 2 in a situation similar to Lucy's. I grew up to be a competitive swimmer, life guard and swim coach.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Ha ha, I got a reprieve because Lucy woke up with a fever!!

She remembered the shark charm on her own and complained that it hadn't been made, even though she missed swimming for the week. Now Lucy wants a shark bathing suit: she wants me to make a bathing suit which will have "Lucy is Queen of the Sharks" written on it, in large letters (I think she imagines the letters are quilted in or appliqued on). I do sew, but I have never made a bathing suit, and I detest working with really stretchy fabric. A custom shark queen suit is NOT in my repertoire. I need Chris March from Project Runway!!!!!

hughman said...

maybe you could make her a vest (like a life vest but not inflatable) that zips up the front.

GodsKid said...

Don't go near any street gangs with a slogan like that ..... I don't know any, but it sounds dangerous! Maybe "the Sharks" is only in "West Side Story" but who knows?

Silliyak said...

I have a related fear, hearing Bobbie Daren singing Mack the Knife.

hughman said...

oh sillyak. i'm sure you've been in many a "Three Penny Opera".

Silliyak said...

Cheap drive-in's is about as close as I've gotten, although there was plenty of drama involved.

hughman said...

yeah, balancing that speaker phone on the fire truck was a real drama. hee hee hee.

Silliyak said...

(insert image of speechless AFLAC duck)

hughman said...

your animal induced straight lines mean nothing to me.

i raise you a geicko gecko.

Captain Steve said...

That whole thing is just completely fabulous. Shark queen, indeed.

snowqueen said...

How about buying a bathing costume and using metallic fabric paints which create raised lines (like on this site)
http://www.artyfactsforcrafts.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=21_64
to decorate it?

s said...

hmm - that didn't work - if you go to the main site and search for 'dimensional neons and metallic fabric' you should get the page.

Our Crooked Tree said...

I have this image of her being pulled on some sort of chariot by the sharks. Very Little Mermaid like.

hughman said...

also, you might try pictures of dolphins. dolphins are known to protect people from sharks.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/21689083/?GT1=10547

Anonymous said...

Hello !.
You re, I guess , perhaps curious to know how one can make real money .
There is no need to invest much at first. You may begin to get income with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
The firm represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

Its head office is in Panama with affiliates everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become really rich in short time?
That`s your choice That`s what you desire!

I`m happy and lucky, I started to get real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. If it gets down to select a correct partner utilizes your funds in a right way - that`s AimTrust!.
I make 2G daily, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link http://nerivuzela.exactpages.com/witosev.html
and go! Let`s take this option together to feel the smell of real money

Anonymous said...

Good day !.
You re, I guess , perhaps very interested to know how one can reach 2000 per day of income .
There is no initial capital needed You may begin earning with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
The firm represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with offices around the world.
Do you want to become a happy investor?
That`s your choice That`s what you really need!

I`m happy and lucky, I began to get real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to choose a correct partner utilizes your funds in a right way - that`s it!.
I take now up to 2G every day, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link http://edafekisiv.freehostyou.com/mequdeqo.html
and lucky you`re! Let`s take this option together to feel the smell of real money

Anonymous said...

Hi!
You may probably be very curious to know how one can manage to receive high yields on investments.
There is no initial capital needed.
You may commense earning with a money that usually goes
for daily food, that's 20-100 dollars.
I have been participating in one project for several years,
and I'll be glad to share my secrets at my blog.

Please visit my pages and send me private message to get the info.

P.S. I earn 1000-2000 per daily now.

http://theinvestblog.com [url=http://theinvestblog.com]Online Investment Blog[/url]