Last week was one of those trying times that make us realise just how overwhelming life with a baby can be, and also, how tough babies really are.
My daughter, bless her little soul, is getting more mobile by the day….she is zooming around the house like a speed demon with no regard for danger. I try to be very attentive when she is up and about, but let’s face it, sometimes we mothers get distracted for a moment by the demands of our homes. There are dishes piling up, reaching delicate heights, laundry piles that I am convinced have swallowed the match to my favorite pair of shoes, the cat I thought we had, and an envelope containing $200, and dust bunnies the size of small children under everything I move. Every once in a while we mothers have to take our attention away from our active infants for a moment and clear a spot to sit on the couch….well be warned, it take two seconds for disaster to strike, and after this week I am awarding myself ‘mother of the year’……because disaster struck alright, not once, not twice, but three times…right under my nose. I truly had a Britney Spears, bad mother moment, or three this week….
The first encounter of drama occurred on Tuesday morning, as I cleared counter space to prepare breakfast my daughter happily scooted around the house…… For you to understand the situation you have to know the layout of my tiny apartment. I have 10 steep steps that lead up to a landing at my entrance, followed by two steps that enter into my main area…the rooms to the house branch off from here in a very small ‘X’ shape…. I put the baby gate at the top of those two steps to prevent the tragedy that would entail should a small child tumble-down the steps. Being the upper level of an older house I have those beautiful high baseboards that look great, but really do nothing in the way of helping to place a baby gate…and so there is a slight gap between the bottom of the gate and the floor. A gap that did not alarm me at first glance of course, but has since been reassessed. My little
devil angel is apparently smarter than I gave her credit for, as she was contentedly crawling around the house, exploring all the fun little places she could fit her tiny body, she discovered this gap. The gap is not more than a foot from the floor, it is understandable that I would assume a small child could not easily slide under this gap, and subsequently fall down the stairs beyond….at least that is what I am telling myself, because that is exactly what happened. I heard a thud, followed by a squeal, and my heart stopped!
It’s funny how as a parent you know when something terrible has occurred, without even seeing the actual event you just know what has happened…perhaps this is some sort of delayed psychic ability. Regardless, I just knew she had fallen down those two steps on to the landing, my fear caused me to question whether she may possibly have continued down the other steps beyond, which would surely mean death, or seriously injury. I cautiously turned the corner from the kitchen to the entrance, afraid of what I might find, and saw my little
devil angel sprawled on the landing staring up at the ceiling above in confusion. There was no tears, no screams, just complete confusion as to what had just occurred.
What happened when I picked her up is evidence that babies are tenacious little creatures….she literally laughed in my face. A whole-hearted, deep, belly laugh. One of those contagious giggles that quickly spreads to all who may be around to witness it. So..needless to say the initial shock wore off and I laughed with her…but I fixed the gap immediately there after. and vowed to keep my kitchen in a more organized state.
But this incident alone is not award winning…No! It is the terrible circumstances that developed over the next few days that allow me to accept this trophy of prized parenthood…..
Next came the day that I ran my daughter over….No not with a car, don’t worry, I don’t drive, mostly in consideration of other people’s safety, and partly because there is no need to in the city which I live. Anyway…I tossed my daughter into her stroller and scurried around to get my son off to school, I was in a particularly good mood this morning and was chattering away with my son as we walked the 15 minutes from our house to the school grounds. As we were cutting through the parking lot that runs next to the school yard a strange thing happened, the stroller jolted and suddenly would go no further…. confused I stepped around front to check if the wheels were stuck on some sort of rock, or curb, and there staring up at me from UNDERNEATH the stroller (I am talking literally underneath, like lying on the ground) was my beautiful little
devil angel! My ingenious infant had managed to not only wiggle her way out of her restraints, but also to climb out of, and consequently get sucked under the wheels, of the moving stroller.
I was DEVASTATED! How could this have happened? I am a horrible parent! OH-MY-GOD! Well….let me tell you, she was not laughing this time. As I scooped down to pull my little escape artist from beneath this death trap of a contraption, she started wailing, which in-turn drew tears from her older brother, who looked at me with outrage and asked in a threatening tone, “Mom how could you run over my little sister?” Which of course, caused me to burst into full-out sobs. Keep in mind that all this occurred in a busy parking lot and so I was convinced that some witness was surely going to call child welfare, and they would certainly take my children, for fear of their safety with such a terrible, cruel, and monstrous parent!!
She cried for only a moment, in fact my sobs not only out lasted hers, I think I was far more injured emotionally, than she was physically. My son, who realised that I had not purposely harmed his beloved sister forgave me for such a gruesome act, and I refused to place her back in the ‘death trap’ opting instead to carry her, and push this now despised product, all the way home from the school…. swearing up and down the whole way that I was going to sure the manufacture for not considering my daughters shocking intelligence, and determination.
Yet does the trauma end there? No…of course not….trouble comes in three’s…always does. It is some sick karmic law, made simply to send you over the edge….
I must state that I am convinced that no one informed my little
devil angel that she is in fact just that… “Little.” For whatever reason, my 8 month-old daughter thinks she can just get up and walk! Just one day after this second appalling accident, (and I call them accidents with complete morality as I truly did not predict such occurences ever manifesting) I have fully convinced myself that I am the worst mother in the entire world, perhaps even the worst mother to ever exist in the entire history of man (granted the Virgin Mary may beat me there, I mean watching your child get crucified has to be worse than a few bumps and bruises, right?) My daughter decided, and chose not to inform me, that she was no longer content to just crawl around the livingroom. Which of course is the one room in the house that has sturdy hardwood floors, not the plush carpet that is required for such ideal moments of inspiration. No that would be too easy, no carpet in this room at all, just hard floors and a small child, who for whatever reason, decided that she could walk from the coffee table to the couch as I stood by in shock and disbelief. A crash, a bang and a boom later, my little devil angel had managed to slip, trip, and land directly on her face!
As you can imagine by this point in time I had been through more than I could take… I rushed over to lift her tiny body from the floor, and I saw a red mark forming above her right eye. It was at this moment that I truly lost it! My marbles officially left the building. (well the few that entered the building with me in the first place, I’m a single mother I didn’t have a large stock to begin with.) Tears streaming down my face I did the only rational thing I could think of…. I called my friend, and between frantic sobs I recounted the events of the past three days, convinced that upon finishing this horrific tale there would be police at my door, and foster parents waiting to save these poor children from their horrendous excuse for a mother…..
Instead, she laughed at me…… Not just laughed. Literally laughed. Hard.
Shocked, my sobbing stopped and I asked her…. Why? Why she was laughing at my horrible parenting skills? To which she calmly replied… “Don’t worry about it, we all have those days!”
What? What do you mean we all have those days? Have you ever ran over your child? Has your lack of attention to detail ever been the cause of your child plummeting down the stairs to near death? Have you ever sat and watched as your child fell smack on her face, and done nothing to stop this event from occurring, when you clearly should have saw it coming? What’s that you say? No? You haven’t? Well…See, maybe you should call the authorities. I couldn’t blame you if you did, it is obvious I am just a bad….
“One time I put my daughter in the car seat on the table, and she kicked her legs to hard she toppled off the table and on to the floor.” She she stated with no sign of guilt what-so-ever!
What? Could this really be true? Did my friend also have a horrible mother moment?
But it was only one accident and….
“Then there was the time that I got up in the morning and went to go get coffee, forgetting my child at home sleeping…I made it all the way to the coffee shop on the next block before the realization hit and I burst into tears, sprinting all the way home…”
There were a few more of these un-motherly stories from her, a number of them from my friends mother and aunt, and many more from the other mothers I suddenly felt the need to question….
Could it be that everyone has “bad mother” moments? Moments that lack instinct, or intelligence?
I let out a sigh of relief when I realised that the child protective service were not going to break down my door and rip my children from me for neglect and poor parenting. I was not a ‘bad’ mother, I was just a mother… and although these events were traumatic, I learned a lesson, and my child is fine and well, a little more worn for wear, but in once piece just the same.
And so….. I accept this “Mother of the Year, not best but not worst” award with great honor, and pride. For not only have my children survived with minor damage, but I have come out with minimal trauma as well!
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