THIS is why you have to be sooo careful around water

Oh my God. Not OMG. This story is way too serious for abbreviations. So yesterday after school and baseball, Holden came home smelling all stinky, so after dinner I told him to go upstairs and get ready for a bath.

HOLDEN: I’m tired.

ME: We’ll do it quickly. I’ll help you.

There was no way I was gonna let him get into bed smelling like THAT. So he undressed and I ran the bath and he climbed in. Basically what we do every night. And while the bath was filling up, I went to my bathroom to quickly pee. I mean he’s seven, not a toddler. I would never have left him back then. Not even for a second.

And while I was in my bathroom, I got distracted or something, so by the time I got back to him, the tub was way above its usual level and he was lying in it looking so peaceful. I picked up my phone and snapped this picture.

Awwww, so sweet.

But it wasn’t sweet. And here’s why.

ME: Holden, let’s do your hair.


ME: Holden, get up so we can do your hair.


ME: Holden!!

So I touched him this time.


And I put my hand behind his back and lifted him. He sat up and opened his eyes, the way a groggy kid does when he’s been sleeping.

ME: Were you sleeping, buddy?

HOLDEN: So tired.

Like I said, oh my God. I mean I assume he would have woken up if his head had gone under, but I wouldn’t want to take that chance.

ME: Holden, if you ever feel tired like that in the bath, I want you to do something.


ME: Get out. Don’t wash yourself. Just get out.

HOLDEN: Alright.

ME: Being safe is way more important than being clean, okay?

Don’t get me wrong. He just turned seven. He’s old enough to take a bath on his own. At least I think he is. Is he? I mean yeah I still gotta hound him about washing his tush and his armpits, and he always wants ME to wash his hair because God forbid he has to do something on his own, but I have to remember he’s still young. Not a baby or a toddler, but still a child. And I need to be better about checking on him when he’s in there. Because water is water is water. And whether it’s a pool or a lake or a pond or a river or just an ugly green bathtub, bad things can happen in water if we’re not careful.

And I don’t want to think about that. But last night I got a very fortunate reminder.

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There are 17 comments for this article
  1. Charlene Ribera at 11:03 am

    Oh My Gosh I so empathize with your experience. I am SO glad Holden is OK. You are human. And it takes courage to share this. Thank you for this reminder, and the laughter in your other posts as well.

  2. Katie at 11:16 am

    Dear lord I am glad he is alright. We’ve all been through scary s**t while parenting as best we can in all of our unique situations. Thank you for your bravery to share this story too despite the trolls that are bound to come at you ?

  3. Andrea at 11:46 am

    That’s so scary. My 8 yr old has been showering by herself for about a year now and I’m so much happier. She would do that same thing as Holden and it worried me to no end. Her 6 yr old sister still bathes but she hates getting water in her ears because she has tubes so she never really gets her head wet.

  4. PirateJenny at 11:55 am

    Aww. I’m glad he is OK. That would give me a freaking heart attack too. Kids!! Heck, I’ve almost fallen asleep in the tub myself, which is why I don’t take baths, lol!!! My 6yo takes baths and I definitely don’t check on her constantly. I often will read her books while she’s in there, maybe I ought to do that every time just in case.

  5. Cynthia Carr at 1:20 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Things happen…even when we have the best intentions. Good for you for telling. This could happen to anyone. You’re a great mother. Keep up the good work!

  6. Heather Anderson at 2:11 pm

    WOW! What a scary moment. I really applaud the way you handle things and manage turn everything into a learning moment, for both you and your kids. Thank you for sharing this!

  7. Beth at 2:58 pm

    I think most parents, myself included, think oh that happens to everyone else not me until you realize that it did happen to you. Three weeks ago today my two year old finally learned to open the back door and we were not cautious about removing the ladder from the pool because those things don’t happen to us we are great parents that always watch our children. Cooper decided that he wanted to wake up earlier than normal and finally figured how to unlock the back door and open it. We realized he wasn’t in his bed when we woke up the older kids to go to school. We found him in the pool! Never for once think that these things don’t happen to you because everyone thinks that before they become the unlucky ones!

  8. Cj at 3:49 pm

    Oh thank you for that reminder. A neighbor in our area just died in the tub. She was a normal happy 6 year old. Dad stepped out for a minute. She stood up and slipped and hit her head. My kids are 9 and I stay right there!

  9. Lisa at 3:58 pm

    Same EXACT thing happened to us last year. My son was exhausted and I walked out to grab a towel for him in the minute I was gone he fell asleep exactly like your son. I have a picture that looks just like yours of my, then 7 year old, sleeping in the tub. It was terrifying realizing that he was actually asleep. So glad your baby is ok!!

  10. Courtney at 6:06 pm

    This is terrifying. I cried hard just now because I am guilty of leaving my six year old in the bath by himself. I’m always just in the next room and listening for silence but, still. He showers most of the time now but next time he is in the bath I will remember this.

  11. julie at 4:38 pm

    my kids were together in the tub (8 & 5.5). I tend to stick around the bathroom, but had been in and out putting away laundry. I happen to walk in see my 5.5 yr old slip under. he wasn’t fooling around, he wasnt standing up, he just slipped (maybe when grabbing the sides?) and slipped under. I could see his look of wide-eye terror under the water. he was frozen in fear- he didn’t know to get up. and hes a good swimmer (which really doesnt matter in the tub) and floats and goes under (on purpose) in the tub all the time. his older sister was in shock too and didn’t know what to do, so she just watched. i jumped over and pulled him out. scared us all. anyway, i get it. i figure at 5.5 and 8 i should be able to step out for 2 min, but a great reminder that water (any water) is so dangerous.

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