Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…
Only, it wasn’t Humpty Dumpty, it was Liam.
And it wasn’t a wall, it was the bed.
Having had experience with Aava and her accidents from dropping off the bed to a one-two tumble down the stairs, you would think I’d be a little- or a lot- more cautious with my own. But the truth is, I wasn’t. For some reason, I never thought it would happen. At 6 months old Liam had become quite the active baby, never staying in one spot for very long despite the fact he cannot crawl yet. His time on the bed was usually spent rolling around in the sheets, eating them from time to time or trying to grab everything his eyes landed upon. He once had a near-fall experience when I placed him next to John in the bed who proceeded to go back to sleep, leading to me walking in on Liam grabbing for air and his life- yes, his- flashed before my eyes because I knew there would be no way to get to him in time, short of nose-diving myself from the doorway of the bedroom to the bed. I could all but muster a “Hello!!!!” to alert John to wake up and grab Liam’s legs.
Of course, Liam was gummy and oblivious.
Despite this, I can admit I was still pretty nonchalant about Liam being on the bed. When he was sleeping I did the whole pillow fort, but I still wasn’t too concerned with it, to be honest. I mean, how much trouble could a sleeping baby possibly get himself into, right?
Don’t answer that!
Because it’s trick!
Sleeping babies get into a world of trouble because they have a knack for being one with the dead one minute and wide eyed and bushy-tailed before you could say “goo goo gaga”. I often wonder when they develop the habit of being asleep and staying asleep, you know, like normal people. Luckily, Liam is an expert napper; while he has his fair share of twenty minute cat naps, he also takes at least two long naps which extend anywhere between 2-4 hours, so I often felt comfortable leaving him on the bed to sleep, baby monitor activated. I’ve heard the stories, I’ve seen the videos, kids fall off the bed all the time, right? It’s like a rite to passage, like, you haven’t truly experienced life as a baby unless you’ve fallen off a bed or two. Or a chair. Or any raised surface, for that matter. It all counts. I even heard personal stories of John’s first time unexpectedly off the deep end so I guess the apple didn’t fall too far from that tree . I know, it happens. Still, I never thought it would happen to me.
Until it did.
It was an ordinary Sunday. We had plans that day; Liam falling off the bed was not one of them. He was in a perfect position on the bed, sort of. His legs were near the edge and his body was at a diagonal angling his head towards the center of the bed. I must admit, a few times I passed by him, and the thought of him falling off the bed did cross my mind. But he was so calm, eating the sheet; his favourite past-time. John decided he was going to prep a bottle of milk for him and I was between both the bedroom and bathroom. I had only JUST left the bedroom and entered the bathroom when I heard it.
For a millisecond, the reflection in the mirror stared back at me with saucer-like eyes, my hand frozen in mid-air. “JOHN!”- Not too sure why I shouted for John before I moved seeing as I was closer to Liam than he was. I dashed into the bedroom and found Liam face down on the floor bawling his little eyes out. I rushed to pick him up, giving him a frantic scan-over much like a dog would lick her wounded pup. I tried to console him, pressing his face into my neck and walking from room to room the whole time feeling like I had pushed him off the bed my damn self. Want to know the best (worse) part of it all?
In that short space of time, Liam hadn’t just found himself off the bed. Oh ho, no. Cause just falling off the bed on the side he would’ve more realistically been expected to fall from would have been too simple and unbaby-like. In true baby fashion, Liam had to do the unexplainable. Fall from the opposite side the bed. (Is it wrong that I giggled when I typed this?) Granted, if it were a single bed, then that wouldn’t be unexplainable at all; at his length he’d neither be here nor there on a single bed. But a Queen bed? I promise I’m not exaggerating when I say, I had just left the bedroom. Believe me, between John and myself, we have come up with numerous possible scenarios as to how he found his way on the other side of the bed so quickly. However, while John and I remained in almost total disbelief for most of the day, Liam got over it pretty quickly. Like a bottle of milk to the mouth, quickly.
We just never thought it would happen.
But I guess that’s part of the joy, and maybe the thrill of having a baby. The unknown, the unpredictability of it all. Philosopher Mokokoma Mokhonoana once quoted “In fiction: we find the predictable boring, in real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying”.
Yes, motherhood, heck, parenthood is terrifying.
Like an egg on a wall.