Dumb Luck

by | Mar 5, 2011 | The Red Dress Club | 40 comments

He was in the bath.

The water was so warm.

But something didn't feel right.

His father came in to find him this way.

Sitting in the bath, fully clothed and looking confused.

Sitting in the bath his parents had run and then left unattended.

The bath he had slipped into without so much as a splash.

"Honey! Come and see this!"

She entered the room and had to laugh at the sight of her poor sodden boy.

"How did we not hear him get in?" they wondered incredulously.

They laughed even though in the pits of their stomaches was a sickness at what could have been, at what they might have walked in to find.

She couldn't help but be reminded.

He was in the pool.

The water was so cold.

Something wasn't right.

His older brother came outside to find him this way.

Floating face down in the swimming pool.

The pool that was not gated, back when there was no law about gated pools.

The pool he fell into with a splash that no-one heard.

A splash his older brother would never forgive himself for missing.

He screamed for someone to help. But there was only him. It was his job to mind his baby brother.

"How did I not hear him?"

The question must have repeated itself forever in his head.

But the answer would not change a thing.

His baby brother was gone.

She remembered. A tiny white casket.

Two stories. Outcomes differing by the finest of margins – dumb luck.

The second story belongs to someone else. 

But the first story is mine. 

My little boy. My LD, not quite 2 years old and a bath full of water the ultimate temptation to a little boy that can not swim.

We laughed.

But it wasn't funny at all. 


This post is linked up with The Red Dress Club.
The prompt for this week was “Water gives life. It also takes it away.”

Red writing hood

Hello friends


I’m Angie!  I mum. I write. I wife. My husband would say this is the correct order.  He’s so neeeedy. I live with my family in Melbourne, Australia, where I complain about the weather for 90% of the year – but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Except maybe in Lake Como, waving to my neighbours George and Amal each morning.

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  1. Tracey

    Eeeek, I know a father who was entrusted (whilst wife went out to dinner with school friends) to bath his 8mth old & 3yr old, he instructed said 3 yr old to hold up his baby brother as the father ran to grab a singlet & clean nappy.. Upon his return only a split second later he found a happily playing 3yr old & the 8mth old laying face down on the bottom of the bath, only filled a few cm’s…
    It was already too late…..

    *If I run a bath the door gets closed until we are ALL in there to supervise, even being ages 5 & 3…

  2. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Oh god, Tracey. It’s just the ultimate nightmare.

    And yes, we do the same. Bath run and door closed. Even then, I am always conscious of where the kids are once there is water in that bath.

    We learnt our lesson – thank god we didn’t learn it the hard way….

  3. Rae

    Gosh it’s just so scary hey. Such a fine line…

  4. Tracey

    Yep, thank god it wasnt the hard way… You learn from your mistakes, its the only way, or others hell… When I heard this story many many moons ago, before Indah it made me realise water is DANGEROUS around kids!!

  5. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Sometimes, I think about the ‘chances’ I have taken. With lots of things. Little things – but that could have massive consequences. You just can never let your guard down. Not really.

  6. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Well, I think I’ve always known water was dangerous but then, at that time, I never dreamed that LD could get himself into the bath. It just didn’t seem possible. So the big lesson was never to underestimate what your child could do.

    That’s not a problem with Zee. You can count on him to do the most dangerous thing of all every time. Needless to say, I never take my eyes of that kid.

  7. Mad

    I have chills up and down from reading that. The second story is heartbreaking and I’m glad the first wasn’t. So glad. I remember you mentioning it when it happened.

    The bath tubs in this apartment are super low – P can easily bend over into it. So scary.

  8. Carrie

    So scary…because you never know.

  9. cristina

    oh boy, this gave me chills. It’s so true, it only takes a second…
    visiting from TRDC.

  10. Mad

    Oh no! That’s the last thing you need.

    I busted P attempting to climb up the wall at one end of the bath tub tonight. Spiderbaby?

  11. Christy

    I love the way your wrote this. It flows so wonderfully. The concept of your story terrifies me to the core. We are extremely conscience at bath time.

  12. Tracie

    I’m breathless.

    When my daughter was a little over a year old, we had a hurricane and had to stay at my mother-in-law’s house. She had the bathtub filled with water because of the storm, and the whole week we were there I was constantly worried that Katarina would disappear down the hallway and fall in the tub.

  13. Mandy

    I have chills over this one. I’m such a maniac with the tub and water, but there’s always that one time, you know?

    This was a great post.

  14. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Thank you so much, Christy.

    I don’t think we can ever be too vigilant with kids around water.

  15. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Oh my goodness, Tracie, that would have made me nervous, too.

    Thank you for reading.

  16. Ladybird

    There is always that one time. You just never know. Thats why they are called accidents. Tragic, terrible accidents. Of course they could have been prevented, but that is the very thing about an accident – it was never meant to happen. It is gutwrenching reading about things like this.
    I ahve three children. 2 of which are boys. I consider myself hypervigilent. But I have my own fair share of ‘near misses’.
    I own a pool. The gate is locked. So is my back door. Yet I have an almost 2 yr old who can find a key if it was hidden in cement – and I have caught him unlocking the back door….
    I was at a triathlon today and heard an awful peircing scream, as a woman yeleld “tom’. I turned to see a little boy walking slowly across the road – there was a car coming that couldnt see him – a man ran out onto the road to stop the car. I felt sick to mys tomach. As I kept pushing my pram up to where my kids and my sister in laws parents were, I heard a woman say to her husband “she should ahve been watching that child – how did he get that far?”.
    An unfair comment. I know the pain, the constant anxiety – of owning a ‘runner’. I once bent down to pick up my handbag and my son was already across the road from my house….. I am ‘lucky’ I live in a quiet cul de sac.
    This gig is tough. This story is very sad.

  17. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    That’s it, isn’t it? An accident. Never meant to happen.

    So then really, how does one stop themselves from being a helicopter parent?

    It is an incredibly tough gig.

  18. Stacey

    That gave me chills. Sometimes being a parent is so scary.

  19. Melissa

    Angie – this is chilling and something I’ll remember for a long time.

    I have a Danger Mouse – Rory is trouble … big trouble. Ladybird’s story about Tom resonates. Rory runs off and in the blink of an eye, he is gone. I’m always worried that one day I will not be quick enough and something bad will happen.

    I know – they are accidents and nobody is to blame but the guilt would always be there regardless.

  20. Victoria KP

    This really got me. Both my boys fell into pools at really early ages. Fortunately–they were both scooped out within seconds. Still scary as hell!

  21. Tina

    I had a little girl about 18 months, who was playing by our swimming pool (on the grass, a reasonable distance away – well before fences). We were all there watching. Before anyone could grab her she went in deliberately head-first. Luckily our 14 year old neighbour (who adored her) leapt in and almost hit the water before she did. It scared me shitless. Her name was Angie.

  22. CDG

    I can’t imagine. I just can’t.

    But you lulled me, draw me in with the sweet–and scary–story.

    And then?

    The awful, awful reality.

  23. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Oh Mel, I am much the same with Zee. He just doesn’t seem to have an ounce of self-preservation in him. LD was, by contrast, much more cautious.

    I love the spirit of the fearless child but being that child’s parent is frightening.

    And yes, ‘accidents happen’ would be little comfort if the worst were to occur.

  24. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Hmmm, smacks of bad parenting to me.

    Didn’t I swim underwater for a bit? Or have I added that part to the legend?

  25. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    I have yet to respond to one of the prompts and literally at the 11th hour, I decided to knock this out. So it was 10 stolen minutes as the family breakfast craziness happened around me.

    So it’s very rough but I thought the juxtaposition of the two stories worked.

    I wish the second story was fictional but it isn’t. I have never forgotten.

    Thanks for reading.

  26. Cheryl

    Terrifying. And it happens so fast. My almost two year-old has no trouble getting in and out of the tub by himself and at this age they are SO fascinated by water. I am glad yours had a good outcome and I’m guessing you’ll never leave a tub unattended again!

  27. Mommy Shorts

    It’s incredibly scary how much of our lives are built on chance and luck. For me, pregnancy was my biggest window into that notion. You have no control over what is and will be. And then somehow you give birth to this perfect child. And still every possibility of screwing it up.

  28. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Keep child alive – that’s the most you can hope for some days.

    We’re tired and we say that but we’re joking, aren’t we? Of course we’re going to keep the child alive.

    But to contemplate, even for the briefest moment, that you would get to the end of the day not having fulfilled that seemingly simple goal….well, it doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

  29. Darvon Recall

    It gave me CHILLS. The second story broke my heart. We have to give extra supervision to our little ones.

  30. Yuliya

    Oh man, I am so glad your personal story turned out ok, but the second story, so so sad and could have easily happened to anyone.


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