I experienced the worst feeling today. I watched my child get hurt without being able to get to her in time. Ella and I were having lunch with Wenda today at her house. We had a great afternoon of chatting and Ella lounged some and played some. She had decided that the remote would make a great phone so she was walking around the living room with the remote to her ear when she approached the staircase. Oh, yes…you all know what is coming, but here is how it went down.
“Be careful!” I told her ( and also was telling Wenda that she asks to go down the stairs, usually). She was getting closer and closer to the edge, though, so I was on the move getting nearer without making her get too excited to cause her to accidentally move forward and go down the stairs. She took another step closer and I said, “No, no!” in a still pleasant, but firm voice. But, she looked at me and took another step anyway.
I can still replay it in my mind–her foot went down and she started to fall forward, her eyes went to mine with the look of surprise on her face, she somehow managed to turn partway around and though I hoped she could catch herself, she didn’t. My baby fell all the way down the stairs very rapidly and hit her cheek on the corner at the bottom. Oh the fear that coursed through this mother’s heart as I watched my baby fall just inches out of my grasp. I was there instantly when she hit, of course, and I picked her up and held her as she screamed and cried. She has the battle scar to prove it, too—a tiny prick of blood was on her cheek and now a nice red mark all around it is starting appear. I’m sure it will be purple in the morning. She wouldn’t let us put ice on it, she just cried and answered, “No” whenever we asked her if she was alright as her head stayed on my shoulder. But, she settled down pretty quickly and fell right to sleep on my shoulder. We left about ten or fifteen minutes later and she woke up as I put her in her carseat, but she was bouncing her head to the music in the van. I guess she slept off the trauma.
When we got home, I knew I had to tell Stevan what had just happened (though I dreaded telling him because I still felt that somehow this was all my fault though she was watched the whole time and warned and in the past she had shown that she listened). He was downstairs so in my mind I was picturing Ella’s reaction to going down the stairs. But instead of instantly crying and refusing to go down without being held, she looked at them, grabbed my outstretched hand to help take that first step so she could turn around and then she proceeded to go down the stairs without anymore help. It took everything I had not to help her, but I immediately knew she was okay and was so thankful that she wasn’t scared of our steps.
In retrospect, I learned a few things. I reacted pretty well under pressure when Ella fell because she was able to calm down (even though I wanted to scream inside and constantly check her over–Wenda is a nurse so I was thankful to have her watchful eye take it all in). Ella is resilient–obviously. Ella still loves me even though I couldn’t stop her fall or keep her from getting hurt. This motherhood thing is freakin’ hard, but oh so rewarding when they want you to soothe them. Discipline is important so kids can see that all actions have consequences (I already knew this, but I just witnessed it again today). Love helps the hurt go away.