Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas shiner

Dylan is a climber. I often find him standing on furniture--end tables, couches, beds--and find myself stuffing my heart back in my chest after I run to him and scoop him safely back in my arms. His latest fad is to stand on the very back of the couch and lean against our front bay window. I hate him being up there because even though that window is not far from the ground I always picture him falling through it, landing on broken glass in the front yard. I tell him, "Buddy, if you knew what happened to Eric Clapton's son you wouldn't play near windows like that.". Sean reminds me that Eric Clapton's son was also in a 22-story high rise, this is not at all like that. I remove Dylan from the window and he cries and I dance with him and sing "how much is that baby in the window...?". He'll climb back up to his favorite window seat as soon as my back is turned.

Dylan rarely falls off of the couch, maybe once or twice ever, and he's never fallen in such a way as to get hurt. We've taught him how to get down hiney first and he's usually pretty good at safely landing on the floor. This morning though, as he sat near the arm of the couch, he suddenly flung himself face first onto the wood floor, landing on my laptop and smacking his face into the wall. Hard. He screamed silently, which is the scariest type of scream because he stops breathing.

It was such a horrendous fall that I found myself forcing him to move his arms and legs, checking for signs of a broken neck, watching his pupils for dilation, studying his motor skills. He hugged me tightly as he cried and I mentally broke. I was standing right next to him when he fell, why couldn't I catch him? The image of him lying folded into the floor in the way a sky diver folds into the wind in the first few seconds of leaving the airplane--feet and arms slightly above the rest of the body--tattooed itself in my mind. My baby could've broken his neck an arm's length from where I stood watching.

I quickly stripped both of us down and drew a bath. He loves bath time and I figured that warm water would soothe both of us after such trauma. His tears immediately turned to giggles and splashing and handing me different colored shapes, asking "dat?". I cautiously watched his pupils as I answered him, "That's green, buddy. Purple. Blue. "

The only evidence of his fall hours later is a slight black and blue below his eye that is so faint it will probably be gone by morning. That, and the emotional scarring of the image of my baby's face bouncing off of the floor which will be forever etched in my mind.

And just so I don't go crazy with worry, I tell myself, "boys are resilient" and we carry on with our afternoon.