Her Parenting Holds No Water

, , , , , , | Right | December 5, 2018

(I am a lifeguard at a pool only about a half-mile from my house. You need to live within the township to go in, but some days in the summer you can pay a fee for a day-pass and swim. Usually nobody who pays a day-pass fee causes problems, even though they aren’t “members.” A mother and her son come to the pool, and her son can’t be older than five or six years old. She continues to read a magazine on the side of the pool and pay no attention to her son, who is trying to hold three different oversized water guns and tread water. I repeatedly jump in and pull him back to the shallower water to prevent him from going under, and his mother never takes notice of me jumping from my tower and pulling her son, about three times. Finally, I warn him.)

Me: “If you go past this line—” *pointing to the four-foot line* “—and I have to jump in again, you’re going on the bench until I say so.”

Boy: “But why?! I keep drowning and you always save me.”

Me: “You’re not drowning; you’re sinking because you won’t let go of your super soakers. I have to watch other people in the pool; I can’t keep ignoring them to drag you back to the shallow end.”

(His mom notices I am talking to her son outside of the pool and comes up to me.)

Mom: “What is the problem? Why are you yelling at my son?”

Me: “Ma’am, I wasn’t yelling at him. I have had to repeatedly jump in and pull him to safety because he will not let go of those guns and allows himself to sink underwater. I cannot continue to save someone who should not need saving.”

Mom: “That’s your job! He’s just a little boy!”

Me: “I know that, ma’am, and he can have the guns in the pool as long as he doesn’t squirt anyone in the eyes with water. But I have about forty other people to watch, and if someone or some child’s continuously risky behavior can be prevented so other patrons are safe, I will do what I have to and bench your son.”

Mom: “You cannot punish him; I am his mother! He is a good boy! You are just lazy and rude! I am going to file a complaint!”

Me: “Go ahead, ma’am. I have already made a report of these incidents and informed the head lifeguard. The aquatics director hired me personally from my lifeguard class. and I have over twenty recorded saves this year alone. As far as they’re concerned. I am an asset and you are a liability. Sorry to be blunt, but my job is not customer service.”

Mom: *somewhat awestruck at my audacity* “HOW DARE YOU?! I am a paying customer, and my son can do as he pleases! He isn’t hurting anyone!

Me: “Ma’am, if you would prefer to take him to a pool where the lifeguard will let him drown in four feet of water because he won’t let go of toys, that is your prerogative. My biggest concern is safety, and your son is unsafe.”

(The little boy and his mother make their way to the lifeguard shack, adjacent to the front entrance, where my boss, the head lifeguard, is waiting… and smiling. I get back up on my stand, nod to the other guards on duty, and continue watching the pool. Out of my peripheral vision I can see her swinging her arms wildly and screaming at my boss, who is standing his ground with his arms folded… still smiling. She leaves, and my boss comes up to my stand.)

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], do you know who that was?”

Me: *still watching the pool* “No, who?”

Boss: “That was [Aquatic Director]’s girlfriend; she wants you fired.”

Me: “Seriously?”

Boss: “Yeah, you’re fired. Aaaaaaand you’re hired. What a b****!”

The Female Form Does Not Conform

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 22, 2018

(I am at a hotel pool with some friends. A heavily pregnant woman is lounging in a chair near the pool, reading a book. She is wearing a bikini; you can see she has stretch marks on her stomach and legs, and her ankles and feet are swollen. A girl of about twenty walks by, then turns around and goes back, her face wrinkled in disgust.)

Girl: “Um, excuse me?”

Pregnant Woman: “Yes?”

Girl: “Why are you wearing a bikini? It’s kind of gross.”

Pregnant Woman: “I’m wearing a bikini because it’s summer and I want to. If you have a problem with my natural female form, feel free to f*** off.”

Dramas In Pajamas: The New Craze Sweeping Through Pre-School

, , , | Learning | November 16, 2018

(I teach young kids how to swim. After the last group, I change into my clothes and wait in the hall for my ride. I spot a few kids from my group and overhear them.)

Kid #1: “Are you wearing your pajamas?!”

Kid #2: “Yes.”

Kid #1: “What are you, a baby?”

(Mind you, the kid is about six years old. The other kids start laughing. Having been bullied most of my youth, I can’t stand this behavior, but I also have a responsibility as a teacher to not just scream what I want to scream. I take a gamble.)

Me: “Well, I think it’s efficient!”

Kid #3: “What’s efficient?”

Me: “Well, [Kid #2] is very smart. By changing into her pajamas here, she doesn’t have to change at home. She saves a lot of time.”

Kid #1: “So?”

Me: “The time she saves by undressing and dressing again, she can now spend hanging out with her parents or watching TV. This way, she can stay up a little bit longer!”

(The group fell silent, and their parents picked them up. I wondered if my words had even helped. The next week, three more children were wearing pajamas after the lesson, and [Kid #1] screamed at his mother he wanted to wear his pajamas, too. Guess I set a trend?)

Inattentive Lifeguards Breathe A Sign Of Relief, As One Drowning Per Pool Session Is Now Acceptable

, , , , , , | Learning | November 14, 2018

When I was ten years old, the summer program I attended went on a field trip to a local indoor waterpark. I tried using a feature where one walked across on lily-pad-like flotation devices while also using a net above, but ended up slipping off and getting trapped underneath one of them.

The worst part was that the lifeguard — nor anyone else, for that matter — seemed not to notice, and the other kids continued to walk on the lily pads, despite my predicament. After what felt like forever, I freed myself, but due to embarrassment, I said nothing about it and went to do something else.

Ten minutes later, the summer program staff announced we were going back to the site early — we’d been there for only an hour — due to inattentive lifeguards, which made me wonder what else had happened, since none of them asked if I was okay.

Pool Monitors Neglected To Be Informed To Now Monitor For Signs Of Neglect

, , , , , | Friendly | November 5, 2018

I am working as a pool monitor. I’m a 5’4” woman who weighs 180 pounds on a good day. The pool is five feet deep, with no lifeguard. Signs are everywhere saying so.

A lady and a ten-year-old boy show up. He immediately gets in while the lady sets down her stuff and starts talking to her friends. Nobody is paying attention to the kid. She continues talking to her friends and he starts wading to the middle of the pool — the deep part in this particular pool — and all of a sudden he’s jumping up and down with his hands up in the air. He’s drowning. The look on his face as he looks around for help while bobbing just out of safety’s reach still pops into my head.

It’s a good thing I’m paying attention, as I jump into the pool and drag this kid, who weighs as much as me, to the shallow end.

After dragging him out and telling him to sit for a bit before I teach him how to swim, the lady thanks me and tells me she thought he was playing! She wasn’t even watching him!

I realise that I’ll have to teach the kids in the neighborhood to swim… along with a few of the parents!

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