Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wheeling PD Aquatic Center

Denis came home from work early today so we took advantage of the hot weather and went to the Wheeling Park District Aquatic Center. We tried to visit this park before but thunderstorms kept the park closed and we went to the backyard pool at Casa Umali instead. This place had a huge zero-depth pool that had a tunnel slide attached, a deeper end to the pool plus waterfalls, a whale slide and other shower features. There was a splash pad with a huge bucket that tipped over when filled and doused the entire play structure. Next to that was a smaller pool for water basketball and a sand lot with climbing features. I think of all the parks we have visited, this one was the nicest one overall. I'd put Flick Park up there, too, since that kiddie pool is fenced in. Yesterday we had visited Meadows Park pool between 6-7:30p for their family swim hours and were disappointed to see that the huge water splashy tree thing in the zero depth pool had been taken out. Now it's basically a zero-depth end to an Olympic-sized pool with a few bubble fountains. Back to the Aquatic Center, Ronin was deathly afraid of the splash pad features due mainly to the huge bucket of water that threatened to empty gallons of water on everyone. Denis opted to take Ronin to the pool since Nikko was enjoying the bubble fountains. The minute he left, Audrey asked, "Daddy go? Daddy go?" She tolerated the splash pad features but kept asking for her daddy. I will never forget what I saw happen next. A girl about 6-7 yrs old in a green bathing suit had run full speed into Nikko's back, knocking him down like a football player. He flew two feet forward in the air and landed on his stomach, knees and hands on the watery pavement (the rubber splash pad didn't stretch as far as the fountains, it was like a rough sidewalk) and slid another half foot. I ran to him and he was shocked, then started crying in pain. I looked him over and noted that the girl was nowhere in sight. No major scrapes to the knees or hands, but I could see little red abrasions on his lower ribs which probably took the impact of his fall. He started struggling against me, trying to get away from my grip, when I saw the dad of the girl dragging her over to us and telling her to apologize to Nikko. She didn't want to do it at first, but after two tries she said, "Sorry." Normally I am the type of person who would have said, "You don't have to make her apologize, he's ok, he's going to be fine." But I kept my mouth shut until she apologized, then said, "That's ok." It was probably an accident, a result of kids running in the park when they're not supposed to so they don't pay attention to where they're going or who is in the way, but because she plowed down my Nikko, I definitely wanted that apology since that image of Nikko flying onto the rough pavement with no warning is burned onto my eyeballs forever.

We eventually moved to the bigger swimming pool and that's where Nikko was most comfortable. He is going to be a good swimmer some day and seems very at ease coasting in the water. He got stimmy back at the splash pad running back and forth through the water structure ending up on the water slide, and he got stimmy on the whale slide, going up the steps and down the slide, unfortunately getting pushier each time and annoying the kids around him. We got the kids to a quieter part of the pool with a structure that had streams of water from different tubes. Nikko enjoyed body-slamming into the water, bobbing as if he were swimming, and not afraid when his head dipped below the water. He' also tilt his head to the left side at times and didn't seem bothered by the water over his ears. Lollipops have been the key to keeping the kids still while we changed them out of swim diapers into regular clothes.

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