27 February 2007

It Finally Happened

It finally happened. I fell while holding Otto. It wasn’t anything like I had feared. He was strapped into his car seat, there weren’t any stairs or vehicles involved, and no blood (his or mine) was shed. It did shake the shit out of me. I’m so glad it didn’t happen with my first. I was so nervous about everything with her, it might have sent me packing.

So there I was, a carefree second-time mother, entering Stella’s daycare via the forbidden old herringbone brick driveway (not on the required, level sidewalk). Out of nowhere, an unset brick grabbed my shoe and sent me in one direction and the shoe in another. Otto and his seat went on a third trajectory despite my valiant efforts to prevent such an event. I landed on the ground with a dirty palm and bruised knee and saw that Otto was there too, in his car seat on its side. He wailed, and I gathered him and my shoe as quickly as possible. When I got into the daycare I checked to see that all four of his limbs were moving independently and there wasn’t any blood. Then I handed him off to the daycare provider and washed my hands and caught my breath.

A friend fell on the stairs while her five week old was in the sling. She turned and broke the fall with her arm- which broke. It was the desired result, of course. I ran into her at a café with her cast and slinged baby. Stella was just starting to walk at the time, so her accident ruffled every fear I had. I realized it was actually possible for one of them to come true. Seeing her arm reminded me of the power of mothers to save their children from some harm, but also scared me to the core. As I was leaving her, she asked her male friend to crane her full breast out of her shirt for her baby to nurse. He had to use both hands to do it. Now that amazing sight- on a busy street- almost made the fear worth it.

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