Friday, June 19, 2009

Everyone Falls Sometimes

Adele: 'Waaaaaahhhh!'
Me: Oh FUCK!!!

No one wants to wake up to a screaming baby, especially when she's your own. In a daze, I search the premises to find Adele. No where in sight, I scour the room and find her on all fours, screaming from the apparent drop. She looks up at me with helpless eyes, tears streaming down her face, and I want to gouge my infected eyes out as self-inflicted punishment. I feel like the most horrible mother alive.

CATCH-UP; I was nursing her in the middle of the night. Although I always take her back to her crib after her night binge eating, I fell asleep from four consecutive days of sleep deprivation as I try to prep spoiled rich brats on their final exams while trying to mother my eight-month-old baby.

I pick her up and ja-jang (a term coined by my sister which means rocking, shushing, swaying, doing-whatever-is-necessary). She calms down and gets sleepy. I feel her sweaty body and want to drown myself in her tears. Is this what it means to be a parent; to feel your heart in your quivering throat every time your child gets hurt? I'm seriously reconsidering having another child if I can't master my own fears/anxieties/guilt with raising this first one.

I don't notice the blood right away. It's only when I attempt to nurse her that I spot blood trickling down her nose. Oh god, I feel sick. My child is bleeding and I didn't even notice. In my hysteria, I couldn't see that her nose was badly scraped. Though it's just a scrape, my vivid imagination and poor eyesight lead me to believe that she's hemorrhaging. I'm too scared to turn the light on so I wait until she finishes and gently examine her under the glow of the closet light. Her eyes, eyelids, eyelashes are drenched but look unscathed. Check. Her forehead seems okay too. Check. It's only her nose.

After putting her down, I tiptoe out of the room and start calling everyone I know. Freaking out, I call Alex about ten times, each voicemail more high-strung than the one before. I call the restuarant and his manager tells me he has left.

'Fifteen minutes ago. He's probably on the train now.'
'Oh... Adele had an accident and she split her nose. I need to talk to him.'
'Call 911,' he says in a deadpan voice. Fucking frenchie. I want to kick his ass and put some feeling into that annoying accent.

I hang up and ring Ms. Barbara. Mother-in-law tells me it's okay, to keep tabs on Adele's lucidity. I am surprised she didn't tell me to rub garlic on her nose or bathe her in acidophilus.

My dad is next on my list.
'Dad. Adele fell off the bed.'
'She okay?'
'I think so, but I can't tell. It's pretty dark in there.'
'Is she still crying?'
'Then she's fine.'
'How do you know?'
'Because if it was bad, she would be crying a lot.'
'What if she's internally bleeding.'
'You know, bleeding inside.'
'No, not from a drop like that. You fell from your bed many times.'
'Yeah, it's fine.'

Okay, so my dad may be the wrong person to talk to since he seems to think falls from my annoying ass medieval style bed are no big deal. The next morning, I realize, that he was worried sick and couldn't sleep the night. He called me at 5:30 am his time.

'Dad you sound tired? Why are you calling me so early?'
'Couldn't sleep.'
'Worried about Adele?'
'Yeah. Is she okay?'
'She seems fine.'
'Babies fall sometimes.'
'I know. I just saw blood and freaked out.'
'It's okay. Don't worry too much.'
'Thanks Dad.'

Adele and I have survived many things; irritating hospital staff, yeast infections, eye infections, impetigo, and now, bed falls. I have to remind myself that babies will get hurt sometimes and that once in a while, I may be the cause of that injury, whether or not it's because I didn't pad the entire bed area in pillows or, when the time comes, because I say a harsh word to her sensitive thirteen-year-old self.

Being a parent is superhard sometimes. As she tries to cruise around, balancing herself on any object suspended on the floor, I feel my hand and heart extended out to catch her potential falls. Nine times out of ten, I catch her. I have to remind myself that part of growing up, is falling down sometimes.

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