Saturday, February 6, 2010


I was just muttering to a friend the other day how E is 6 months old and we've come this far without any real bumps or emergencies. Six months of our parenting and she had survived unscathed. It seemed like something to pat ourselves on the back for.

When you first bring your baby home, the pure helplessness of that sleeping babe is overwhelming. Here you are, responsible for this other PERSON. How much does it eat? Is it tired? Am I going to drop it or snap it's neck in two from holding it wrong? Does it need more layers of clothes? Why is it crying?!?

And then you get a few months in and there's all this other stuff to consider. Solid foods and vaccines. Is TV ok? Am I setting her up for sleep problems? Does she need more tummy time? Should we hold her more? Less? You read these books and Google long and hard into the wee hours of the night on your iPhone (in bed). You ask people and read blogs and research until your head throbs from information overload. You are now the subject matter expert on "exclusively beast fed babies" and "vitamin D". You make comments to the pediatrician and quote studies that he has not heard of.

You have left no stone unturned. No path unfollowed. Your knowledge has led you to make decisions that bode well with your soul and your sleep at night is peaceful. The air is full of butterflies and rainbows and unicorns frolic in the meadow. Tra La La La....

And then your boobie-milk fed, cloth diapered, sling-riding baby falls. Face first. Onto the hardwood floor.

The entire universe stops and your eyes bug out and your lungs forget how to expand and collect the much needed oxygen your brain requires to process the situation. One minute she's on the chair, the next minute THUD and a cry and your heart has packed up and left because THIS EMOTION? This heart-wrenching throat-closing response? It is too much to bear.

I'm eternally grateful that it happened to me on the day of a regularly scheduled doctor appointment. A mere 2 hours before we were to leave. But the fear and guilt still paralyzed me. I didn't know what to do or even the signs to look for that something was wrong. Was she ok? Have I broken a part of her that will leave her scarred for life? WILL SHE LIVE?!?

It seems laughable now. An uncomfortable laugh but a chuckle none the less. You spend all this time dissecting each component of every substance that touches their delicate skin, enters their bellies, even catches their poop and then THUD, brain bouncing on the deck. If pesticides and synthetic fibers might slightly irritate that sweet little body, what does a roundhouse kick to the grey matter do?

I had set E down on the desk chair in my craft room. I was thinking we would whip out a sling I haven't used before and YouTube how to wear it. With one hand on the sling and the other on the mouse, I clicked and started watching. My leg was up against the chair and I was RIGHT THERE. I've been telling Stephen for weeks: you can't leave her alone anymore. Not for a second. Not two feet away. She can roll and tumble and she has no concept of danger or terminal velocity. It's a serious matter. If she fell, you would feel like shit and she might even hurt herself badly.

And then she falls. RIGHT NEXT TO ME. On my watch.

The moment her face splat on the ground, her lungs opened and THE ANGER. She was runaway-thermal-reaction pissed. Her unintelligible screams morphed into accusations: How could you let this happen? I trusted you! I could have been KILLED.

THUD. My heart. Kicked overboard by the guilt. How does it feel Heart? Bouncing on the floor and rattling your marbles around?

Immediately I start crying. I'm telling her I'm sorry and it's ok. I rush to the couch and I'm trying to shove the boob into her mouth. Here! Take this! You like this! This is comfort! But of course she's having none of it. Sorry Ma. This isn't over-stimulation or stranger anxiety. You dribbled my face on the pavement.

Eventually she did simmer down and her screams turned into that weird hiccupy inner sobbing as she nursed. The adrenaline died down and the oxytocin started flowing and the fear grip on my stomach eased it's clench. The combination of too many hormones chilling out and too many endorphins rushing to my aid was too much for my system. My Breakfast was Revisited.

THUD. All over the victim. Before my mind could react, I had tossed my cookies all over E. Her eyes shot open like WTF PSYCHO?! I am so totally trying to eat here! I just sat there and stared at her. I did not just seriously barf all over my kid did I? What kind of twisted dream is this?

And then Chewie came over and brought me crashing back into reality by first sniffing and then LICKING my pants leg. My barfed on pants leg. My barf. OH MY GOD.

Before I knew what I was doing, my foot shot out and connected with Chewie's ribcage. THUD. I screamed at him. An overly profane sentence that translated into "You crazy dog, that's barf and barf isn't for eating. Okay you silly mutt? Understand? Now time for some belly rubs."

I put him in his kennel to avoid chancing him licking my bile off the rug right in front of me and I stripped E down to her skiveys and disinfected her with baby wipes. After all was clean and back to normal, I finished feeding her. She had a big knot on her head and I had an even bigger knot in my throat. Poor little angel baby.

And then I strapped her in her car seat and drove her little ass to go get some shots.

How shitty was her day?!?

The damage.



katquilter said...

My favorite sentence: "My breakfast was revisited".

If I could give you one bit on advise, it would be to RELAX! SHE NEEDS YOU TO BE CALM...

Poor thing! (and I'm referring to MOM)

Kristi said...

omg g!! im sooo sorry that happened! of course im sorry for my niece, but more so for you!! but i gotta give you kudos for the quick thinking, breastfeeding is a great pain reliever for her! you are not the first mom in history for something like ths to happen to, and even tho you obviously felt/feel horrible about it, it really is ok. i love you! give e a kiss for me, and smack stephen cuz im gonna say somehow this was all his fault! ;) see? two things that make life better, chocolate and blaming the worlds problems on the men in our lives!!

Sarah @ said...

Poor baby and poor momma!!

Cynthia said...

Oh my goodness... You described everything so perfectly! I research everything like a mad woman too... And when my baby girl fell off the bed, my life was over. She was crying, I was crying and my poor husband had to console the both of us. I was a blubbering fool and my guilt was so present that I felt like I intentionally threw her onto the floor. I, too, tried to put my boob in her mouth and she was still to freaked out to care... My goodness, reading this post felt like I was reading a more eloquent and funnier me.

I <3 this post.

Gena said...

Thanks Cynthia!

I'm sure it won't be the last time E or Isla fall or jump off something but MY GOD, not sure how many of them I can take. And to think one day they will be DRIVING CARS.