Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Dip

It's official. Nature hates me. And, by extension, my family.

Witness what happened to me when I tried to ride a tandem surrey by the beach in Santa Barbara last week--or, rather, witness the enormous bruises that are still 'decorating' my left leg. Witness my close encounter of the stupid kind with that rattlesnake on Sunday. And, now, witness N's little swim in the murky, gunky, god-only-knows-what-pestilence-is-infesting-it pond at the local botanical garden this morning.

It was my day to at least partially give N the same sort of mommy-bonding time Em had last week. We only had a few hours, but I had a plan. We'd go to the local playground while it was still quiet, so he could have the run of the place. (That was perfect.) We'd play on the adjacent huge open field, kicking a soccer ball around. (That was made even more perfect by the appearance--oh my god, you'd think they were celebrities--of the tree-trimming guys and all their equipment, which kept N entranced for at least 15 minutes.) We'd then head to the botanical gardens, where we'd look at the fish in the pond, do some of the kid-related activities, and then ride on the mini-train around the camellia forest before maybe grabbing some lunch at the overpriced cafe.

It was this last part where things got a little, um, sticky.

We started at the pond, where N could see the GIGUNDOUS koi fish swimming around, as well as a couple of ducks and a big ole turtle. Then we went to walk around the camellia forest, where it turned out there were like 16 stations spread out over a small, kid-friendly trail (no rattlers) that were pages from a really sweet story book. So we ran from station to station and read the book. N was entranced. The trail let us out in a huge grassy field that was bordered, at the far end, by the same pond we'd started at. N wanted to see the fish from the other side of the pond, which is hard to do when that side is mostly covered with high grass and reeds. But we found a small spot where he could peek through to see all his new animal friends. Except when he leaned forward to get a better view of the turtle, which was now sunning itself on a nearby rock...


All of a sudden, there's my boy, face first in the pond. He picked his head up immediately, and called for me, but didn't cry. He just seemed...startled. I was trying to find a way to grab him and drag him out. I knew where he was was very shallow, but didn't know what would happen if he drifted away from shore. (We've been watching a lot of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory lately, and all I could think of was Augustus Gloop sliding into the chocolate lake...) Finally I got a purchase on his arm, turned him around, and swung him out of the pond.

The child was positively waterlogged. (When he told his uncle the story later, he said, "Uncle, I was SOAPING WET!" Hee!) Since it was still early in the day, I had a jacket over me, which I immediately wrapped him in, checking to make sure he hadn't gotten cuts or bruises where I could see. He was calm, just sort of surprised-looking. The only time throughout it all that he looked like he might cry was when I said, "I'm sorry, kiddo, but I think we're going to have to skip the train this time." (His reply, "But WHY?" Kids.)

I called Baroy from the car to tell him to get a bath ready. (Pond scum=Ew) And within ten minutes, N was soaking away, telling his dad about his great adventure. "And Mommy SAVE ME!" he announced proudly, as if he'd been snatched from the lion's jaws.

Ah well. At least he'll have a good reason to remember this day. Anyone can take you on a train ride. But how many times do you get to have your mommy save you from the depths of a shallow pond and the jaws of giant koi?

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