Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why I'm Going Grey

This one's very old. Sixteen years, pretty much. The Boy was four months old. Like most four-month-olds, he liked to lay on his tummy on the floor and lift his head and torso up, the better to survey his domain. Toss a toy or two in front of him, and I could count on a few minutes of baby-free time, time enough to pop from the dining room to the kitchen to unplug in the kettle, now boiling merrily, and pour a cup of tea to take back to the dining room. To find my baby, my four-month-old, non-crawling, non-rolling baby GONE. Utterly and completely gone. Instant, compelling and completely irrational panic floods me: "Somebody broke into my house and stole my baby!!" All this in 64 seconds of absolute silence. My head whirls madly. My heart roars in my ears. Where could he be? Where could he possibly, possibly be? And how could he have gotten there? I lean to check under the table, where he was only seconds before. He's not there - but I do see a trail marker, a snail's trail of slime, a glistening trickle of drool. It starts where my baby was a moment ago, and arcs gently to the wall against which stands the sideboard holding china and tablecloths. Under which, happily playing amongst the dustballs, lays my Baby Boy. He can't crawl, he can't roll, but he can push! He can push his little self up onto his rigid arms, and, when wearing a terry sleeper on a shiny hardwood floor, he can push that very same little self - backwards. Locomotion! One small step for the boy, one large panic attack for mummy.


Blogger Susan said...

Imagine what you could have done with a Swiffer Suit on that kid . . .

8/18/2005 09:10:00 p.m.  
Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

I'm impressed! Despite your irrational, blind panic, your brain was still working well enough to notice the trail of drool and track the boy to his secret place.

How cool you are in a crisis! I bet your deoderant wasn't even put to the test.

8/18/2005 09:11:00 p.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

Susan, you really need to get that Swiffer suit idea patented. Or off your brain. One or the other.

I remember being shocked when my kids first moved on their own. They were quite happy about the whole thing.

8/18/2005 09:17:00 p.m.  
Blogger Haley said...

And after he'd figured that one out he didn't bother learning to crawl for a long time. Who needs to crawl when you can scooch backwards?!?

8/18/2005 11:59:00 p.m.  
Blogger Aginoth said...

Reminds me of Aginoth Jnr and his mountaineering escapade.

I was at work, my wife had left the then 10 month old, and fully crawling Aginoth Jnr in the Lounge for no more than 10 seconds to get him a teething rusk from the kitchen. upon her return he was gone, after a few minute frantic search he was found in the attic, having climbed a flight of stairs and the Loft ladder (fixed not removable).

8/19/2005 04:30:00 a.m.  
Blogger Heather said...

He needed the back up alarm. Would have solved all problems. And the swiffer suit.

8/19/2005 06:53:00 a.m.  
Blogger Matthew said...

Okay, yours and Aginoth's story scare me. I have visions of twins going in different directions.

That Swiffer suit idea though is a good one. That would be one less floor I'd have to clean.

8/19/2005 10:38:00 a.m.  
Blogger LoryKC said...

My daughter scooted, on her back, for quite a while. (First, because it's easier than crawling and later because it was habit.) Sometimes I wonder where she gets the ideas that she does but then I wonder if it was from experiencing so much of her early childhood backwards and upside down.

8/19/2005 11:22:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Susan: hey, and given that I have five or so crawling, scootching, toddling around my house most of the time, I'll have the cleanest floors in the city. Swiffer is overlooking an entire marketing niche, obviously.

Q: Wrong. I'd broken out in enough of a sweat to make the boy slick when I picked him up. Good thing the dustballs absorbed most of it.

Misfit: of course they were happy! Scaring the snot out of mom is a driving force for their first...twenty... years or so.

Haley: mobile is mobile! Though he did get a tad fractious when that toy placed right in front of him only receded further and further the more he struggled towards it.

Aginoth: incidents like that just send a cold shudder through you, don't they, imagining what might have - and probably almost did! - happen. I called my kids at that stage "A Toddling Death Wish". The fact that they survive till their third birthday is testament to the devoted care lavished upon them. My child is alive. Say no more: I am a good parent!

Heather: I can imagine it now. Three months of "beep...beeep...beep" until he finally learned to go forwards! It's a thought.

Matthew: I can't imagine that they would go in the same direction. That would be abnormal, unless, of course, they have some sort of joint project - like creating mayhem.

Lory: there are far more ways to locomote than most adults have ever dreamed of - until we have kids and start comparing notes, that is! Upside down and backwards, huh? I guess she'll always be good at "thinking outside the box"!

8/19/2005 11:51:00 a.m.  
Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

Ha! Thank God for carpeting!

8/19/2005 12:01:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

LOL. Works like velcro with those terry sleepers!

8/21/2005 08:12:00 a.m.  
Blogger Kat O+ said...

This reminds me of the time when I was still living overseas and my cousins came to visit. The youngest was only a toddler and one day we noticed he was missing. This was a HUGE deal because Manila is not exactly the safest city in the world. Everyone ran around the house looking for him. Eventually, Dad literally stumbled upon him...happily sound asleep on the welcome mat. :-)

8/22/2005 10:27:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

The things they do to your heart rate, all innocently. And that heart-stopping jolt of fear can't be good for you, either! Thankfully, most of these stories have happy endings.

p.s. From where I stand, you're still living "overseas". lol

8/23/2005 07:45:00 a.m.  

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