I have to say – I’m on my fourth toddler, and watching them fall and hurt themselves doesn’t get any easier. And neither do I get better at preventing it – on the contrary, I am busier, with fuller hands and a plate piled a mile high, so I have less time to be his bumper.
Cal is 13 months now, and he has new little bruises daily, it seems. He is not walking yet, but he cruises and stands and rolls and crawls with much gusto. He has a little bruise on his chin that is healing, one on his left cheek from face planting off the bed a coupla days ago, and a fresh, new bloody lip from a little coffee table incident at a friend’s house this afternoon.
I both love and hate this part of a baby’s life. His little personality is blossoming, and we see new parts of it every day. He is so excited to be one of the big kids someday, and he keeps us entertained with his antics and funny laugh. The kids will just about flip backwards to see him smile, and he obliges by adoring them wholeheartedly. As he learns to move, he does adorable things like bop his head to music (“dancing”) and crawl places he shouldn’t while looking over his shoulder to see if I’m watching. It is gratifying to see someone that you have nurtured from helpless blog learn to be independently mobile. He is *this close* to walking, and I’m excited for him.
Also. I am tried of chasing him. He is a little terror sometimes, and he can crawl so fast. He is just steady enough as he cruises to really make trouble. He touches, destroys, drops, throws, eats. (Yes, eats. I have never had a baby eat so much non-food stuff! He particularly loves to eat lint/floor dust balls. So, so, ewwww.) Ever tried to homeschool two or three kids while keeping an eye on a mobile baby who wreaks havoc on most things he touches? I have. It is not easy, folks. Not easy at all. We do most of our work when he’s napping, but sometimes he doesn’t nap that long (MUCH to my chagrin). I feel like I’m constantly saying “Yucky, Cal!” or “No, no, we don’t touch cords” or “Where did you go, Cal?” And I can’t tell you the number of times I have fished foreign objects out of his little mouth. He likes to shove it right to the roof of his mouth so I can’t find it, whatever “it” is at that particular moment in time. Usually, something that used to be some form of paper or art – scraps from kid art work, little puzzle pieces, foamy stickers, tape, pieces of bark from near the woodstove…I regularly find foamy sticker pieces in his diapers. After they have already been through his digestive system, if you know what I mean.
But the worst of it all is when he gets hurt. So sad. No matter how many times a child of mine gets hurt while learning to walk, I still feel awful, awful, awful when I hear that wail. It’s very distinct; I know what it sounds like when it really hurts. I always feel as though I ought to have been able to prevent it. I pretty much hate the whole newly-mobile part of a baby’s life, solely for this reason. Gosh, they’re so cute, and so much fun, but it’s so hard to see them hurt as they figure it all out.
For you new moms out there – don’t feel alone. Or foolish for “letting” your baby get a fat lip. (Wanna read something fun? Here’s my second blog post ever, about this very same matter, when my eldest was a toddler.) Yes, be vigilant, and yes, always do your best to keep it from happening again. But do recognize that babies will fall, and I am proof that it doesn’t matter if this is your first or fourth time around. It still stinks, it still hurts, and you still feel awful. Give that baby a great big hug, nurse his pain, and enjoy the awesome little person he’s becoming. I’m trying very hard to take my own advice and not dwell on things I can’t prevent.