Mr. Man’s birthday was last Thursday and we had a really good time. We went to Friendly's with my family and Mr. Man destroyed a cupcake that I bought for him (I realize the irony of bringing a lactose intolerant kid to a nice cream restaurant). He got presents and everyone was full and happy. He fell asleep practically seconds out of the parking lot, always a sign of a content kid.
Friday was uneventful, basically just a day at home. And then came Saturday. It was a normal morning until I brought Little Miss and Mr. Man upstairs to get dressed. My husband was up there too, showering, cleaning and such. I changed Mr. Man's diaper and got him dressed and in the meantime, Little Miss had wedged her Wyldstyle Lego person under the chewing guard thing on the crib and got it stuck. I stood Mr. Man next to me and fished the toy out, and then I heard it. The sound of the gate, the one I hadn't closed, followed by the worst thuds and thumps you could ever hear.
In the two seconds I had helped Little Miss, Mr. Man had run to the stairs, as he is now a super big kid who loves to drunkenly “run” around the house, and had thrown himself down. I ran faster than I ever had, but I still got to watch my poor boy tumble, belly, back, belly, back down the last half of the flight. He landed on his stomach at the bottom, screaming of course, in a total panic.
After an extraordinarily long period of crying and clinging to me, we realized he was ok. He had a bump on his head shaped like a line where he had hit a book that was sitting on the stairs, some rug burn next to one eye and a puffy top lip, but otherwise, he was fine.
The thing about being a mom is when these things happen, you panic, think of the worst outcome possible and blame yourself. I immediately imagined taking him to the ER, MRIs, internal bleeding and broken bones. Even after he was playing and laughing again I was thinking, if his brain was bleeding would he be acting differently? Maybe not! It was ridiculous of course. He was fine, as Google assured me he would be.
And then came the blame game. I wanted desperately to blame my husband for not seeing him walk to the stairs, but why would he have? He was in our bedroom at the time and I was the one watching our kids. He probably hadn’t even realized I had left the gate open. And speaking of that gate, I am so happy to have it. It has changed my life. I am able to put laundry away or go to the bathroom without worry, but it only works if I close the darned thing. I thought we would be upstairs for a few seconds and run right back down, so I didn’t bother to close it. So my mommy guilt tells me, your son could have died because you were too lazy to close a baby gate. Thanks for that conscience.
I have talked to a lot of parents since then who have had similar experiences and while I wanted to kill him for saying it, my husband pointed out that falling down the stairs is a right of passage for kids. So you know what, it turned out ok and it was a lesson learned. I will always close the gate from now on. And I guess I’m not the worst parent who has ever lived.
Let’s just hope this little accident-prone one year old doesn’t turn my entire head of hair gray before I’m 32.