I mentioned yesterday on the blog that I had an epic parenting fail, and that Edie fell in the pond, and as I result I had a few messages across social asking me what had happened and to put the full story on the blog.
I apologise if you’ve seen it on Instagram, but for those of you that haven’t, I thought I’d share.
It was a few weeks ago now, the day after we’d been pond skipping in our garden pond, catching water beetles with our bug kit from RSPB. Obviously we had nets, everything was supervised etc but it gave Edith the illusion that the “don’t go past the pond barrier” rule the boys know so well, was optional. It’s not. I’m very strict with the pond – big advocate of garden ponds – and we have a rule that you can’t go past the mini wall line without an adult present. I’ve never had an issue with the boys and following this rule, but Edith… Well, Edith is a law unto herself. By which I mean she is a sod who rarely does ANYTHING she’s told to. I believe the fashionable mums call it “free spirited”. Yeah.
Anyhoo, the kids were in the garden and I had noticed Edie had started going to the pond, throwing stones in and generally being cheeky. She was told off multiple times, had her hands smacked and was made to come inside several times to no avail. Eventually I went with the principal that while she was playing on the climbing frame with her brothers I was safe to head inside and do the dishes while I watched them through the window.
Stupid, rookie mum move.
I afford my kids a lot of trust, I think it’s super important not to be hovered over as you grow and learn. How can you properly learn and enjoy life if you aren’t given the space to spread your wings?
While I still stick to that and I wouldn’t change the way I parent because of this little fuck up, I do have to say this was a monumental cock up.
As I went inside Edith tottered over to the pond and reignited her passion for decorative stone destruction. Roo ran over, as I asked him to “keep an eye on her sister” (though, it’s not really keeping an eye on her when I can see her through the window) and shout me if she’s naughty, and picked her up to take her away. Unfortunately she screamed at him, hit him with her spade (ABH) and promptly ran back to the pond. Reuben bellowed “Mummmmm Edith’s being naughty, she won’t…” And then the screaming started. “Edith’s drownding! Edith’s drownding”!
Obviously I heard the scream before I really realise what had happened and the next thing I know I’m hip deep in our pond hauling Edith out by her romper and walloping her head on the decorative rocks she was so keen to demolish.
Two things; firstly Reuben was hysterical. He was shaking and almost convinced that Edith was dying and it was his fault because “mummy asked me to watch her and I couldn’t stop her… She just fell”. Shit. In this instance, the only thing to do was to explain to him that by shrieking that she had fallen in the pond, he saved her and was the hero of the day – which is technically true. The last thing I would want to do is give him to misconception that Edith wasn’t in any danger as he may think that bodies of water like ponds and lakes aren’t dangerous, and I didn’t want him to think that ANY responsibility for this lay on his shoulders – it didn’t, it rested it’s ugly body firmly on my shoulders, like a cloak of guilt.
Secondary to this, Edith actually SWAM. Not flailed around in the water, but swam from one side of the pond to the other and was about to perform her hold on when I got to her. The years of effort and money we have put into Water Babies swim classes (Edie started at 2 weeks) have paid off in dividends and, though I’m mortified that my child had to use her safety training, she had the skills to not only swim in a situation fraught with panic and shock, but to attempt to climb out or hold on to something until help arrived.
Has this whole experience put me off garden ponds? No. Has it made me more cautious of allowing Edith’s outside without my presence? Yes.
If nothing else, my phobia of being in the water of fish has officially been top trumped by mother’s instinct… Deadpool and Nemo are still, reluctantly, fishy members of the family.
Have you had a parenting fail recently?