Simple birthday party and a scare

It’s been a long 3 weeks guys. I felt like something was missing. A piece of me. I needed the break because it seems like the first anniversary of my mom’s passing hit me harder than I thought. The ideas were there, in my head, bouncing around and fighting to get out. I just couldn’t face coming here yet and putting those words down. But I’m back! And I’m sorry that I took off without a word. This first post will be a catch up on Matthew’s birthday.


I decided not to do a ‘proper’ themed, décor’d, party for Matthew’s 6th birthday. We went minimalist with cake and sweets for the children and snacks for the adults. Matthew got to decide what kind of cake he wanted and I decided on the rest. He wanted a Spiderman cake (again) and I got the BEST person out there (I’m hinting here, Melissa) to bake his cake. Melissa has baked our cakes since Matthew’s 4th birthday and makes the most delicious looking (and tasting) cakes ever. Pity she’s retired for a bit but I’m hoping she will be around with Ethan’s next birthday. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Matthew got his cake and I decided on the pool party. We had it by my dad, because of the pool obviously.


The children really had the best time. I didn’t do themed décor (we didn’t even have a birthday banner), there were no extra cakes besides the birthday cake, and you know what? There was enough. I didn’t get to take many photos as I tried to be as present as possible and not stuck behind the camera or with my phone in my hand all the time.


Later the evening, the men decided to start the fire and makes potjies for supper. The kids were dressed and warm and running around outside playing in the yard. There were about 4 men outside watching the children. The ladies were inside playing doll with one of my friend’s babies. I was chatting to my friend and Mark was holding the baby. I see him telling me something but I ignore him because we’re mid conversation. It hits me then that he’s shouting something at me. “KIM! ETHAN IS IN THE POOL!!!” It took me a few seconds to grasp what he was saying and yet I still moved to the yard like I was wading through honey.


I get outside and I see Ethan standing next to the pool, dripping wet. My cousin is in the water, soaking wet. Only then did it sink in what was happening and I moved. I grabbed Ethan, pulled his wet clothing off. He was coughing at this stage. I took him inside to dry him, take his nappy off and dress him in warm clothing. He was still coughing. I’m drying him and he’s coughing. I put him on the ground to stand so I can dry him properly and his legs give in. I don’t think anything of it and stand him up again. Again he falls down, as if his legs can’t hold him up. That’s when I panic. I shout for Mark and tell him we need to take Ethan to the ER. WE rush out of the house, me apologising to our guests that we’re having to leave them to fend for themselves.

We eventually get to the hospital. It only took just under 10 minutes but it felt like forever. And guess what? There is a freaking shift change happening and we have to wait! After a half hour wait, we’re eventually called in. By now, I’ve calmed down a bit, thinking that the nurses and the doctor are going to call me an over protective mother and I’m wasting my medical aid and my time. I managed to not let that deter me from finding out if Ethan is okay. The doctor sees Ethan and says everything sounds good in his lungs and that he’s fine. I must’ve looked a bit dubious because he said he wants to send Ethan for x-rays but it’s just a precaution and he doesn’t think anything will show up. We head to x-rays and after a short wait, get called in. I must mention here that I was so proud of this child! He sat on the machine and didn’t make a peep. He did what the lady asked of him exactly as she wanted (I was expecting tears, screams and loads of kicking).

We get back to the doctor and he is very happy with the x-rays. He calls me around to come have a look at the pictures, showing me there are no black spots (indicating water in his lungs) and that I can rest easy now. The relief was such that I felt I was going to faint right there.


Smiling and happy after the incident

On our way back home, I realise why I was so frantic and panic stricken. Not a week earlier, I had read of a mother and her son. Her son, Natey, had passed away just after Christmas last year by drowning in their home pool. You can read the story here. I was so moved and heartbroken by Jane’s story, that it stayed with me (I still think of them every day). I realised how close we came to the same thing happening to us. Even though there were 4 people outside, Ethan still managed to slip into the pool unnoticed, not making a sound. If my friend’s son hadn’t said that Ethan is in the pool and he wants to get in too, I think this story would’ve ended differently. I am grateful that nothing serious happened to Ethan. I am grateful to my cousin for fishing Ethan out of the pool. I am grateful that this happened so that I could open my eyes to how quickly (and quietly) things like this happen.

The kids threw blocks and other floaty things into the pool during the day. We think that Ethan was trying to get one of the blocks in the pool and slipped in. We have no idea how long he was in the water. We have no idea if he swallowed any of the water. All we know is that we’re really lucky to have survived this time and that it is imperative that Ethan gets swimming lessons.

If you only take one thing away from this post, please let it be one of these.

  1. That accidents happen in a split second.
  2. That children can slip into water unnoticed, right under your nose.
  3. That all our kids need to be able to at least float and swim to safety should they fall into a pool.
  4. That yes, it CAN happen to you!


Have you ever had an experience similar to this? Or have you had a “ag it will never happen to me” moment and then it did happen? I’d love to hear your story and learn from it.



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0 thoughts on “Simple birthday party and a scare

  1. Jodie says:

    Yup – it happened to me with our Ethan too. I blogged about it a few weeks after it happend (it happened on the 15th of December 2015). If it weren’t for a neighbour walking by the complex pool who heard the kids screaming, scaled the wall, jumped in the pool and pulled him out, we could have had a completely different ending 🙁

  2. Jodie says:

    Sent my comment before saying the most important thing of course – I’m so glad that your Ethan is fine – the angels (and probably your mum too) were definitely watching over him. And the party looked perfect, just what kids that age need 🙂

    • Kim Muller says:

      Thanks Jodie. I think you’re right about the angels and my mom. It’s amazing how quickly these things happen though, also glad your Ethan was fine and that nothing tragic happened to either of our boys. Thank you, I’ve realised that the over-the-top parties are not what my kids need. It’s not a competition to see who had the better looking party. At the end of the day, as long as the kids had fun, that’s all that matters.

  3. hayleysjoys says:

    Ah Kim, I can imagine how scared you were. Since reading about Natey, I’ve also become anxious around pools and also just a bit overprotective. These things happen in a heartbeat though 🙁
    I’m glad that Ethan is OK!

    • Kim Muller says:

      I had become so bad with my over-protectiveness since Natey’s story. So when this happened with Ethan, I couldn’t get it over my heart how quickly it happened, even though we were being “safe”. I am even worse now when the boys are anywhere near a pool. What’s boggling for me though, is how the incident didn’t dampen his love of being in the water. Another thing I’m grateful for 🙂

      Thank you 😀 Hopefully, we never have to go through something like this again.

  4. Josie Van Zyl says:

    Gosh Kim, reading your story literally gave me goosebumps. It is frightening how quickly accidents can happen. Someone told me recently that if you have a pool at your home and you realise your child is missing, check the pool first before you check the rest of the house. Even if you are certain that the gate is locked and that they couldn’t get in. Just check the pool first.

    • Kim Muller says:

      I read that as well. And it makes so much sense to check the pool first, right? My heart still beats extra fast every time I think about how close we came to a tragedy. It’s amazingly frightful how quickly these things happen.

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