The baby rolled off the bed while Michelle was downstairs. Michelle had left her on the bed for a nap, and as usual put up a pillow on each side of her so she wouldn’t roll off. But Celia is getting strong and rolling and crawling, so of course, it’s not unexpected that one day this would happen.
It’s pretty scary when it does happen. It’s not a huge drop from our bed, a few feet, but even so, when we’re talking about babies and the potential of knocking her head or something, it can seem like a large thing when you first discover her on the floor.
I remember when she fell a much greater distance. I was so upset with myself. I’m embarrassed to even write it down, because in retrospect it’s so foolish. I put her in her little bouncy chair on the table and left the room when she was about two months old. I know, idiotic. I know it was early morning, and I was tired, and I figured that the chair was stable. Who’d have thought she would start squirming and move the chair enough to drop off the table? When I rushed into the room, she was bawling face down on the floor with the chair on top of her and a bloody nose. It pains me greatly just thinking of it now. How terrible that I would allow that to happen! How negligent! I cried all the way to work that day, and prayed for her constantly.
When Michelle called the doctor, he said, “Don’t worry. It’s the first of many dumb mistakes you two will make, and Celia’s a tough little baby. Did she start crying right away?”
Michelle answered, “Yes.”
“Good. That means she’s fine. It’s worse if they’re knocked unconscious. But call me again if you notice anything unusual.”
Michelle called me and told me the doctor’s response. I was relieved, but also shaken. I swore to myself to be ever so careful with her. Always think carefully before leaving the room. Will she have the potential to do anything harmful while I’m gone? I think of how mobile she is now, crawling around, and how I could leave the room for less than a minute and when I come back she’ll be on the other side of the room with something questionable in her mouth. Yes, I need to be reminded of these things.
But I’ll tell you what, when something so potentially tragic happens early off in parenting, a little fall off the bed, which is only a couple of feet onto some carpet, seems like nothing. Especially now that she’s stronger and able to maneuver around. So, when Michelle told me the news, I barely flinched.
“She’s okay, right?” I asked.
“Yeah. She cried for awhile. But no bruises.”
“What’d you do for lunch?” I asked.
“Leanne and Maria came over, so I served them the leftovers,” she said.
I guess, as in most things in life, as we grow older we get less surprised by things. Sure, it all still happens, sometimes even worse than before, but those first times they happen always seem more vivid and terrible than the subsequent ones.
But then I think of parents who lose their kids tragically. Frankly, I can’t handle watching movies where kids get killed or abducted. It’s way too disturbing to me right now. And who would it help, watching that stuff? It would put bad thoughts in my head, and I’d probably worry over Celia much more. What’s the good in that?
No, I think I’ll try to keep a good balance of watching over her while being aware that shit happens. Sure, she’ll fall off the bed, but that’s going to be nothing compared to some of the stupid stuff these kids do as teenagers. Believe me, I still remember some of the shenanigans I was doing back in the day, who knows what the kids of tomorrow will pull off? Better to keep a clear head, an open mind, and prayerful heart. That ought to get me through.