Mommy lesson #32: Disaster can come from a split-second distraction

There was a time when I was sure that Charlotte would never learn to roll over from back to front. She just didn’t seem interested. Honestly, I was ok with her lack of progress becoming mobile. For all the curiosity she’s shown already, I know that I will never have a moment’s peace once she can investigate things under her own steam. Is it selfish of me to want her to remain dependent on me to get from place to place? Maybe. But no matter how much I wished she would remain stationary, there came the fateful day when she went from lying on her back to teetering on her side to resting on her stomach, all of her own volition. What prompted the move? To my delight, she was grabbing for a book (specifically The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss…thank you Aunt Janet!).

Once she figured it out it didn’t take much practice before she became a pro. Within a week she was pushing up with her arms, chest fully raised off the floor, and even scooting backwards a bit. I’m afraid it won’t be long before she is up on those knees and tearing around the house, chasing the dog and emptying all the kitchen cabinets. Guess I need to get a move on with that baby-proofing thing. Unfortunately I was a bit slow to accept her new skill mastery. It took a near disaster before I fully realized the risks this new ability brought with it.

Here’s the story. I’ve been slowly trying to clean up the guest room/office/craft storage space, which has become a true disaster zone since my interest in DIY projects has really taken off. I have oodles of new crafting materials, but no real organizational system (I know, this breaks my “a place for everything and everything in its place rule,” and it’s been driving me crazy). Instead, I’ve just piled all the project pieces all over the bed, which worked temporarily but really puts a kink in the space’s guest room function. Since I’m hosting my family for Christmas, I decided I should probably clean up my act and at least clear off the bed, since I don’t think sleeping with scissors, pins, magnets, glue, etc. would be super comfortable or safe.

Of course I couldn’t just shove things out of sight, (I don’t have enough room for one thing, and it goes against my very nature for another) I needed to completely revamp the organization of that room. It’s been a frustratingly slow process, hindered further by the fact that both Charlotte and I have been down with colds the last week. But because my OCD doesn’t let me rest when there’s an incomplete organizing project to be done, I’ve been spending every spare moment working in the disaster area. This poses a problem, since Charlotte’s sickness and general attachment to me make her unwilling to be left alone for more than about twenty seconds (is she spoiled? I don’t know. Probably. Can you spoil a seven month old? Subject to be explored in another post). My solution was to move all the non-babysafe material away from the center of the bed and put Sweetness there with some toys and “safe” material like ribbons and fabric to distract her. Hindsight being what it is, I see now that it was probably poor judgement to place my precious baby within a few feet of materials that were plastered with warning labels, pretty much all stating “keep out of the reach of children.” Surprisingly, the near-catastrophe didn’t come from Charlotte slicing her finger with scissors or trying to eat my pincushion, it came from me forgetting the cardinal rule of rolling babies: never let them get out of arms reach if they are on an elevated surface. I checked to make sure Baby Girl was in the middle of the bed, far away from the edge, then moved away for a moment to put the epoxy glue into my newly organized closet. Charlotte’s guardian angel was thankfully on duty and must have given me a nudge because I looked up to see my precious child teetering on the edge of the bed, about to fall directly onto the pile of cardboard boxes and trash that I had oh so conveniently left on the floor underneath her. You know those stories of parents who get superhuman strength when their children are threatened and are able to do things like lift cars and move steel beams so save them? I’m pretty sure I either flew or teleported myself from the closet to the bed, and was able to catch my baby mid-fall. She never even realized what almost happened. I, however, experienced a case of shakes so bad I had to sit down immediately. I don’t think I put Charlotte down again for at least an hour. I couldn’t stop thinking about what had almost happened…what I had almost let happen to my sweet child.

 Parenting is a strange condition. If you let them, the daily tasks on your to-do list can become your priority rather than caring for your child. You wander around in a routine-induced daze, until a near-disaster to wakes you up again. I’m just so thankful that nothing bad actually happened. This time. I know accidents are bound to happen. That’s life. I just don’t want Charlotte to get hurt because I’m not paying attention. A dear friend told me that being pregnant is like climbing a mountain. I’ve decided the metaphor extends to parenthood as well. Have you ever hiked a long, steep trail? It’s tempting to keep your eyes focused on the ground, watching your step and feeling the ache in your legs from the incline. But if you don’t stop and rest, or at least look up, you miss the whole point of the hike – experiencing nature and the views along the way. You might also not see the cliff you’re about to walk over until it’s too late. I don’t want to be a mommy who keeps her eyes on the ground. I want to look up and enjoy the experience. It goes so fast.

One last thought: How many times has God caught me as I teetered on the edge of a precipice, saving me from a bad fall without me even realizing it? We are so blessed to have a loving heavenly Father who never gets distracted from watching over us. Thank you Lord.

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