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.