Tuesday, 26 November 2013
It is not a "first" you ever want for your children - injury - but as a parent who trusts in the process of letting children explore and define their own risk it is somewhat inevitable. Still you hope they will somehow avoid spills, especially any involving a hefty head/ground interface.
On Sunday we took an afternoon trip to the beach. I handed Miss Olive to Keith while I went to the toilet and brought Esme with me because, well, divide and conquer.
The next thing I heard was my baby screaming her lungs out. And as a mum knowing all 2469 scream variations, I knew the song she was singing was Pain (I'm so scared I let a bit of poop out).
Unfortunately I was still sitting on the toilet at the time, now hollering at Keith to tell me what was wrong and at Esme not to open the door. Speed pee, thy name is motherhood!
When we eventually tumbled out of the toilet it was to see a shell-shocked Keith and a still bellowing baby ... now with added scalp laceration.
Always the diplomat I think my first words were "what the ever loving fuck just happened?!"
What happened was that Miss Olive just had her first lesson in why back flipping out of daddy's arms ranks somewhere just short of epic on the stupid scale.
Even knowing what had happened, and also being fairly well trained in first aid let me tell you, when your baby is hollering like a wolf just tore off her arm there is ZERO logic in your brain.
The small voice of calm is running through a well worn checklist and pointing out several obvious things like a)the lack of brain matter b) the obviously conscious baby c) all limbs still attached and in the correct configuration.
The other 99% of your brain is screaming "she's going to DIE!! Her BRAIN will fall OUT!! Call the ambulance, call the coastguard, call a priest, call ANYONE because BRAINS!!"
There is no cold sweat like it.
So we went home, still shell-shocked, Miss Olive now not crying but doing those big shuddering breaths that tell you she was really, REALLY upset there for a minute and how DARE you not be there at the time.
She spent the rest of the afternoon in this position because did I mention? UPSET!
If only that were where it ended: Looking at a baby who fell on her head makes you second guess yourself over and over. It is the one time you are compelled to poke your baby every 2 minutes when they sleep because your stupid irrational parent brain is telling you "THEY MIGHT NEVER WAKE UP!!"
Obviously babies don't much appreciate being prodded when they are trying to recover from the trauma of learning about gravity the hard way so now you have a ratty over tired baby and a brain shouting "THIS IS IT, THE BRAINS ARE COMING!"
Generally, it is a pretty miserable place to be.
The day after this minor drama, Miss Olive woke up grinning and flapping with a barely visible scab on her noggin. I woke up with sandpaper eyes have slept only fleetingly between nightmares of dead babies and listening to baby snuffles in the dark.
Such is the nature of motherhood: one moment you are a serene oil painting, the next a worn out husk of emotional wreckage.