Monday, June 23, 2008

Not for the faint of heart

My sister slipped and fell while carrying the baby today.

Charlotte is fine, thank god, but Nicole's leg is scraped to hell and she was pretty close to hysterical. Matt, Nicole and Charlotte had gone out today since Matt took the day off and Nicole has this week off. I was working at home, and the three of them went to Yankee Candle. There was a crazy huge storm that was starting to slow when they got home, and Nicole slipped in her sandals while carrying the baby in. She kind of went down on her knee, then threw herself back. She insists Charlotte never hit the ground, and I'm inclined to believe her. Charlotte had some puddle dirt on her leg, but she was untouched otherwise.

It was jsut before the back stairs going into the apartment, which is where I have imagined a slip-and-fall since the first time we brought the baby home. I was working in my room in the front of the apartment when I heard Nicole scream - I ran out and Matt already had Charlotte and handed her to me to check over in the light. Her hair was wet, but it was raining, and one of her pant legs was wet. No scrapes, bumps, red marks or anything. Nicole was a mess, physically and emotionally.

We all got straightened out, but there was a fair amount of panic there. I don't think any of us handled it particularly well - I tried to reassure Nicole, look over the baby, and yell at Matt for letting anyone else carry Charlotte in bad weather. Matt was feeling guilty about that and also trying to take care of Nicole, and Nicole just felt awful. I think the three of us were still coping with the horrible visuals of poor Charlotte's head hitting the stairs, while Charlotte was standing on my lap, giggling and gesticulating.

After everything was calmer, and Nicole's wound was taken care of, and we had assured her that none of us were holding grudges, I started to over-think it. Was I too cavalier in dismissing Charlotte's possible injuries? Did she maybe have a concussion, or shaken baby syndrome, or something? Is it possible that I was being too relaxed about the whole thing? Matt and I talked it out, and we know Charlotte is fine, and we'll keep an eye on her, but that kind of fear is not a feeling that dissipates quickly. Ever since I knew I was pregnant I have turned into a worrier of epic proportions, and it's seriously exhausting.

Charlotte slept in our room for almost 8 months - partially because I do believe in co-sleeping as a tenet of attachment parenting, but I'll admit that it also had a lot to do with me being too scared to have her sleep away from us...okay, away from me. I'm hardly the first parent to say this, but seriously, one of the first things you think as a parent right after "Oh my god, this is my BABY," is "Oh my god, what would I do if she died?" And you spend the rest of your life trying not to think about it.

Part of learning to be a parent is wallowing in that fear, and then setting it aside. Yeah, it will always, always be there - and in some cases it comes rushing back with a sickening thump, but you learn to live with it. Gradually, you learn to let go and relax a little, because you just can't live like that. Then you kinda laugh at yourself that you ever were that crazy. And then there is a story on the news about some 6 month old baby who was shot in a domestic dispute, or some asshole nearly rear-ends you, or your baby starts hysterically crying for no reason and fight-or-flight kicks in and you think, "How could I have ever let my guard down?"

It's the circle of life, and it is a fucking roller coaster.

No comments:

Post a Comment