On Saturday night Jafta had a campout with Mark, and I took the twins for a special “trip” of their own.  They’ve been asking to go on a trip with me since Jafta got to accompany me to a conference in March, and since they are four, I figured a night at a hotel would appease them.  I booked a room at a hotel near Disney, because it a) had a toddler swimming area, and b) was cheap.  They were pretty excited.

They spent the first day playing at the splash park.  Unfortunately, the pool area was closed on account of another child having a “code brown” before we got there.

I’m just glad it wasn’t one of my own kids closing down the pool.

I had the brilliant idea to bring our own food, but unfortunately our room did not have a microwave.  So the kids got to eat undercooked Easy Mac I made with water from the coffee maker.  But it was the kind they always beg for: day-glo orange with pasta in the shape of a car – so they weren’t complaining.

This morning we had some time to kill before the sun came out, so I let them watch tv for a while.  Unfortunately, the only channel with children’s programming was PBS and they were showing H.R. Puffinstuff.  What is the deal with that show?  It scared them, and frankly, it scared me too.  Why it this still on?

After lunch, we hit the pool one last time before we got in the car to travel the whole ten miles back to our house.  This is the part of the day that sort of soured the whole trip.  On Saturday, I made Kembe and India wear life vests the entire day.  Even though the splash park didn’t really have a pool, there was a very ill-placed hot tub next to the play structure.  And also, I am a paranoid freak.  So my kids were rocking the life vests, and this morning I even made a joke on twitter about it.

No one will be drowning in the dangerous mushroom fountain today. Not on my watch.

Hahahaha.  OH CRAP.

So fast-forward to a couple minutes after that photo.  India is trying desperately to make a friend, and she asked me if she could take off her life vest.  No one else is wearing one, she says.  She is afraid the other girls will think she is a baby.  When I argue with her, she tells me she is also worried they won’t like her because they will think that she is fat.  (I could write a whole post on my disappointment in hearing that come out of her mouth, too, but I’ll save that for later.)  I felt badly, and let her take off the vest, reminding her to stay away from the hot tub.  She agreed.

She made a friend quickly and they were having fun going up and down the slide.  I could see her come down the slide but the entrance was on the other side.  I could also see the hot tub from my seat – barely, if I was sitting up and craning my neck.  Which I did, for about an hour.  After a while my watchful pose seemed a bit excessive, and I thought maybe I could relax for a bit, since India seemed pretty content with her friends on the slides.

A little while later India came running towards me, visibly upset, followed by an angry father who informed me that he had just jumped into the hot tub to pull her out.  And he scolded me and told me I should probably be keeping an eye on her.

And the thing is, he was absolutely right.  You don’t relax around 4-year-olds and bodies of water.  You just don’t – and I had a major lapse in judgement by trusting India to monitor herself.  Apparently, India’s friend was a great swimmer, and she hopped into the hot tub with India following right after her.  India found herself in the middle, unable to touch the ground, and THANK GOD her friend’s dad spotted her and saved her.  (Incidentally, I had pulled another little boy out of the hot tub of death the previous day.  A letter to the hotel about putting a hot tub in the middle of a splash park is probably forthcoming). 

I am still sick about this.  I have been fighting a repeating loop of “someone is going to die” since being in the earthquake in Haiti and this really sent me over the edge.  I had a hard time even functioning this afternoon, thinking about what might have happened had that dad not seen her.  What is so frustrating is that I had followed the kids around the previous day – playing musical chairs around the play structure, moving every time they moved, even while they played in life vests.  Today I didn’t follow that instinct and we had quite a scare.

I have been turning down pool playdates for the last year because I find it too stressful to have my kids near water when they can’t swim.  Today’s s episode just reinforced my fears, but I’m kind of okay with that.  I’d rather skip the pool than have a repeat of today.  Our water play will be limited to the backyard water table for a while.

Swim lessons start in two weeks.  Hopefully my heart will have stopped the pounding by then.