Neither of my Blue Mountains nieces is 8 years old

So my dread on reading this headline was shortlived.

Girl, 8, drowns in Blue Mountains pool

Thank you, considerate subeditor.

Obviously, whenever a child drowns someone blames themselves for not supervising carefully enough. The parents and any other adult who could hypothetically have been watching more closely will castigate themselves for the rest of their lives. Few will have to cope with the horror-blamefest awaiting Kerry Lucas, though: today while she was exercising with her baby in his pram, she took a cellphone call and hung up to realise the pram was no longer there. Initially thought to be a kidnap case, approximately 20 minutes later the pram and her son strapped into it were seen in the river. He drowned.

I can’t imagine how she must be feeling. What I can imagine all too clearly though is the tut-tutting that is bound to occur over the next weeks because Kerry Lucas happens to be a model and triathlete who, amongst other endeavours, poses for cheesecake photoshoots for lad magazines. As if being distracted and failing to put the brake on a pram couldn’t happen to any parent – I used to have nightmares about it myself. I shudder to think what Miranda Devine or Caroline Overington might come up with in their columns, but I have a bad feeling that somehow the death of Kerry Lucas’ baby will not only be presented (actually probably deniably implied) as somehow her just desserts for being a hussy but also feminism will be somehow to blame.

I can’t help my overwhelming emotion here being one of relief, still, that neither of my nieces drowned today. My sympathies nonetheless go out to the bereaved parents in the Blue Mountains and in Adelaide for these two lives cut off too short today, and all the others too that simply didn’t make the headlines.

How terribly sad it all is.

Categories: relationships

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10 replies

  1. I read that this morning and thought it must be one of the most horrible accidents I’ve heard of. And you’re right — there will probably be lots of ‘airhead’ sportswoman/model comments flinging through the media, poor thing.
    I also feel sorry for that young woman in Sydney who voluntarily relinquished her Young Australian of the Year Award, only to have Iemma cattily state (in a soggy way) that according to the rules she would have been stripped of it anyway. Most ungenerous of him, and very dignified of her in the face of a circling tabloid press.

  2. The runaway pram is just awful; any accident involving kids is. Poor bloody woman.
    The brouhaha over Iktimal Hage-Ali is very perplexing. Seems that she was questioned in relation to someone she had met through her community work at mosque who has been charged over cocaine dealing matters. It doesn’t look like she’s even going to end up as a material witness. Is this a case of Iemma’s very cold hard reaction being about him distancing himself from his own cultural heritage? That misinformed ignorant Oz notion of middle-east? Why is this woman being treated like this or does Iemma have info from the DPP? Which raises another whole set of problems if he does……….

  3. Caroline Overington is too busy trying to convince us that it’s a good idea to import Pacific Islanders to drive down the already abysmal pay of childcare workers, so maybe she wont get to mentioning the accidental deaths of these kids.
    The pram brake thing was so sad, it’s so easy to do. Accidents happen, publicising them in the hope of minimising them is one thing, beating up the parent it has happened to is quite another. (I fell out of my highchair as a baby, we’ve got a whole family full of people diligently strapping babies into things now)

  4. This is the second time I’ve heard of a baby in Adelaide who drowned when the mother answered the phone — a friend of my sister’s once had that terrible, terrible bath experience all mothers of little ones dread. Phone rang, distracted mother answered it, baby drowned. It makes you really worry about telephone obedience.
    But Tigtog, I gravely fear you may be right — someone will find a way to blame feminism. The Lindy Chamberlain jokes must have started by now, too, and I’m sure there are many people who already believe she pushed the baby into the river herself.

  5. I was at the Footscray pool when boychild was about two and something months. Girlchild created a diversion, then i couldn’t find Boychild. Do you know where I found him?
    At the deep end of the grownups pool, happily kicking and holding onto the ladder with one hand.
    I still wake up sweating after that one.

  6. Luckily (as we see here and with the comments too) not all women think so horrid as to accuse. Most of us think “oh thank something that never happened to any of my babies!”
    But – in ways it did? I read it remembering my son riding his skateboard down our 45 degree angle driveway into the street when I wasnt looking for a second, or when my daughter pulled the cheese sauce saucepan off the kitchen table onto her and.. etc etc etc…
    I pity Kerry Lucas at this horrible time. I have absolutely no good advice – I remember battling brakes on strollers – hell most of the time I had trouble assembling the stinkers. My last three babies where less than 18 months apart and holding one with my chin, the other with my hand and trying to use voice control on the oldest – while assembling strollers.. is still one of my panic moments JUST REMEMBERING IT! And I was always absolutely certain my babies were far more beautiful than most – therefore more worthy of being baby snatched… and had terrible nightmares about it for years.
    She wont want my pity. I think it is lovely that here she doesnt have pity – she has horrific understanding. Sometimes real bad stuff happens. Sometimes “fault” is too easy to attribute. Sometimes ones own pain is enough.
    I read it thinking… shit… that COULD SO EASILY HAPPENED TO ME…
    (P.S I was 13 when I sympathised with LC – and for Iktimal Hage-Ali I just have a feeling she is going to hold her head high and.. amaze us in the future some time. Smart girl – beautiful girl – and Iemma… well…….. times change all the time. I like trusting the aforementioned better.)
    Have a wonderful holiday !

  7. Here’s another one. When Girlchild was just a newborn, I was pramming her around Northcote. I went to cross at the pedestrian crossing lights by the Town Hall on the hill. The lights went green. But! I didn’t look to the right. A white van (why is it always the white vans) ran straight through the red light. I had already started to cross. i actually felt the breeze as the WV just missed it by a whisker.

  8. Er, could someone explain to me who Caroline Overington is?
    Moments like this, I’m glad I’m not a parent. Can’t think what that kind of responsibility, to keep constant watch over the small things, could be like.

  9. She’s a strident op-ed fingerwagger, else.
    I remember the relief, a few years ago now, of suddenly realising I didn’t have to watch them like a hawk anymore, ready to spring protectively at a moment’s notice.
    They still need supervising, but the intensity of alertness required has lessened.

  10. Makes ya wonder, Why the pram was facing the river in the first place. AND why didn’t she look in the river first???

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