Game clock

18 Jul

Before Lyra could finally sit up unsupported, she fell over dozens, perhaps hundreds, of times. Her gelatin-like body would slump from one side to another and no sooner than we had propped her up, she’d be lying on her back again, laughing at the ceiling.

When after months of frustration–where she tried in vain to will her body forward (despite lying on her stomach, arms and legs stretched out in flight)–she began to crawl, her head met the edge of our low-lying coffee table within days. For every drawer she mastered open, a pinched finger followed. Couch-climbing adventures have led to numerous spills, as we’ve pleaded and pleaded for her to slide down on her belly, Feet first, feet first…

And now, she walks. she fights the urge to run, but only because he coordination won’t allow it. She climbs up stairs. She pulls books from shelves that were miles above her just a few months ago, and now are eye-level. And she falls. She bruises. She wails. I have learned not to cry along with her, at least not most times. But this past weekend there was blood. A loss of balance, side tumble, too close the coffee table (why do we still have that damn coffee table?) and her jaw was snapped close too quickly, her two, loney bottom teeth went stabbed violently into her upper gums, sending splashes of bright red down the front of her father’s tee-shirt.

This is the first time I’ve seen my child’s blood. It will do not no good to hope it’s the last. It won’t be.

When your baby is new, you constantly worry that you’re going to do something wrong. That your child will be hurt because of it, and you will have to live with the consequences. As your child grows, and you find yourself growing into the role of guardian, you begin to worry less. You’ve got this. You’re not going to break your baby’s leg while changing a diaper. You can breastfeed and hold a phone at the same time.

But the mobile child doesn’t allow you to be her helmet and shoulder pads. You are relegated to goal tender, and frequently the shots get past you. Eventually you will become referee, calling the shots but no longer guarding the play. Then, some day, you retire from the field. you watch events unfold without much interference. You cheer from the sidelines.

Did I really just take a sports metaphor that far?

No one should ever ask you if you were dropped on your head as a baby. The answer is emphatically, Yes. But it’s not our parents who do the dropping. It’s us. From a height of 2 1/2 feet, we fall. Gracelessly. We render our parents helpless. And perhaps that is the child’s job. To humble us, repeatedly. To remind us of imperfections, our incapabilities. To make us yearn for greatness, even when we continuously fall short.


The last few months have been tough. For me. Mentally. The weight of the impending anniversary caused a major flare up to my PTSD. In fact, it has only been in the last few weeks that I’ve come to fully understand that is what was affecting me. I’m working through it. I’m learning techniques to manage it. To control flashbacks and anxiety. So far, I’m not able to manage the stresses of every day life with the demands of regular deadlines. Managing stress is a struggle, but it’s also critical. At least for the time being. I have a harder time managing the guilty feelings and incompetent feelings that come with not being financial contributor to the household or an equal partner in my marriage. Or for failing to do all of those things that I just can’t muster the mental and physical energy to do.

Last week I received my usual weekly newsletter from Baby Center, which I have subscribed to since I was 15-weeks pregnant. Its heading read: Your Toddler This Week. My eyes welled. I can’t explain all of the reasons why.

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8 Responses to “Game clock”

  1. Atasha July 18, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    OUCH! Poor baby.

    I sometimes ask myself, when my kids hurt themselves badly drawing blood, how much more of this I can take? My husband cannot deal with the site of blood from the kids so it’s always on me. I’ve lost track of the bleeding bruises. As of yet, it has not gotten easier to deal with and most time I cry right along with them as I break out the first aid kit. I’m thinking that probably scares them more than anything.

    We had a coffee table quite sometime ago, but after several busted lips and booboos on Christopher ‘s head the table had to go. It was replaced with a padded ottoman.

    I know there aren’t any words that will make what you’re going through any easier, but please know that we’re thinking of you. You’ll get through it.

    HUGS

  2. Tree Hater July 19, 2008 at 12:11 pm #

    Coffee Tables are the devil, we should burn them all as firewood.

  3. niobe July 20, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    When he was about two, my son fell off a chair and hit his head on the ground. He was absolutely fine, but I can still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I watched him fall.

  4. Tammy July 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    Kady got in the way while I was putting up new shelves in my closet..needles to say she fell and caught her lip on one of the shelves…thank god thats all that happened to her. I think I was crying more than her at the site of her blood. Needless to say she healed up and was on to her next dangerous adventure two seconds later…and our glass table is horrible for kids…but even if we got rid of it I’m sure she’d find something else to hurt her self on so getting rid of it really wouldnt solve anything as we would have to get rid of half the house!! I know you are going through alot…needles to say we all care about you and are thinking of you…

    p.s. Being a mother to a husbands child is a MAJOR contribution to the family…love is stronger than money..hang in there!!

  5. Keya July 27, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    Your daughter is so cute. Sorry to hear about her new boo boo.

  6. James July 31, 2008 at 9:47 pm #

    Lyra is growing up so quickly! thanks for being open about your PTSD.

  7. Lu August 5, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    Your daughter is lovely.

    When my son was just a few weeks old I attempted trimming his nails and clipped the pinky one almost entirely off. Blood spurted everywhere. He cried for five minutes. I cried for an hour and a half.

    I have since dropped him once (picked up the carseat and he wasn’t buckled in) and he has fallen off the couch (back was turned). All this and he isn’t even 8 months.

    You put my anguish into words.

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