a rough patch

On Friday nights, Rhiannon plays in a 4-on-4 volleyball league. For the past several weeks, I’ve taken Brooklynn to the rec center and we’ve watched. Brooklynn likes to explore new places and she typically does pretty well. The last time we went, she decided that she needed to go stand by the people who were serving, which lead to me chasing her down and carrying her back to the corner that we were sitting in. Any then Rhiannon’s team came over to the side closest to us and Brooklynn couldn’t handle not being able to go see Mom whenever she wanted to. We left. And this last week, we didn’t go. It was an earlier game and it was still nice outside, so I figured I would stay home with the baby and maybe take her for a walk or something outside.

Before we headed out, I figured that I would grab some of her clothes and get them in the wash so they could dry before we went to bed that night. I went upstairs to get the hamper and left her sitting on the bottom step by the landing. She loves to sit on these steps and does without incident all the time. So, up I went.

For anyone who has ever watched or been in charge of small children, there are two sounds you never want to hear. One is the silence that immediately follows the realization you don't actually know where the small child is. It is usually followed by a frantic search because, kids these days, they are sneaky. They might be doing something as innocent as eating dirt from a plant or as destructive as chewing on your wedding album.

The second noise involves less of the unknown and more an immediate feeling of dread. It is a loud thud followed by immediate crying. Kids have different cries. There is the hungry/thirsty cry, the irritated cry, the don't feel good cry, etc. And of course, the I'm hurt bad cry. When you hear a thud and the last type of cry, you run.

You run from upstairs on a sprained ankle because you don't stop and think about the ankle. And then halfway down the stairs, something from the self-preservation side of your own brain says to slow down because you just rolled the injured joint going around the corner back there. Ow. And then the baby keeps crying and that self-preservation voice gets shoved back down.

I found Brooklynn laying face down on the wood floor next to the step she had been sitting on. When I picked her up, there was blood running down her chin from a cut lip. She understands some words, but there is no good way to tell a distraught one year old to calm down, take a breath, stop blowing bubbles in the blood from your mouth, and try not to swallow.

I grabbed some tissues, transitioned to a wet paper towel, and eventually got her calmed down enough that the bleeding stopped and I could clean her up. On the positive side, this all happened before I could start the clothes in the washing machine, so I just threw her shirt with blood on it in right away. We didn't go out for a walk, and the next morning, she had a bruise on the outside of her lip to match the cut on the inside.

The next day, we saw her scooting down the two steps from the landing to the floor forward on her butt rather than crawling down backward like a full set of stairs. I'm guessing this is what happened with less than desirable results.

On Saturday night, we went out to do a little evening shopping. With a baby that likes to walk around stores all on her own, off hours are the best times to go. By the time we got home, it was a little late and little dark. Rhiannon and I were looking at something on my computer in a dark room and Brooklynn demanded to be part of the group. We plopped her on my desk chair and I gave her my wireless mouse to play with.

I'm not sure if it was the dark messing with her depth perception, but I think she tried to set the mouse back on the flat surface and missed. And when that miss occurred, she found nothing to balance herself with. Either that or she decided that face planting from the chair on to the floor would be fun. Either way, she didn't like the outcome. The floor is carpet and we avoided blood this time, but large tears we present. This time I didn't even feel negligent since we were right there beside her. She just moved a little too fast for us.

Last night, I was sitting at my computer near the top of the stairs when Brooklynn came crawling up to the top. (You'd think by this point that some combination of computer, stairs, and Brooklynn would set of alarms. But no, it didn't.)

She stood up at the top of the stairs...  and no, she didn't fall back down the whole flight. She walked around the corner into her room, came out with book, flipped a few pages, and tried to grab a bottle off of my desk. Which is when I noticed the blood on my desk? And on her hand, and on the bottle, and on the book, and on the door to her room.

I grabbed her and we went downstairs to get cleaned up before blood got anywhere else. At this point, I was holding her hand so she didn't touch anything and she realized that there was something liquid on her hand. Neat, right? Blood does not mean injury. Not yet, anyway.

Rhiannon came to help, which is when we noticed the blood on the carpeted stairs. And then we found a long, thin slit on the end of one of Brooklynn's fingers, one that bled with a little bit of pressure around it. Pressure like climbing stairs or holding books.

We eventually figured out that she got a bad paper cut from a magazine (blood on the cover) but didn't cry or say anything about it. She then proceeded to get blood on the couch, on the wood floor, and everywhere else that I already mentioned. She didn't cry until we tried to put a bandage on her finger and told her not to touch it.

That's the worst thing, right? Not the bruises, bumps, or blood. Hearing the words No and Don't. We've got a little diva on our hands.