Having a baby is scary. You have this fragile creature in your hands and you are so terrified that you’ll make some stupid mistake that will hurt him or worse. You try your best, but no matter what there will always be brief lapses of judgement, oversights or a combination of circumstances outside your control that will make you a nominee for parent of year award. Maybe some parents are so careful and so lucky that their babies grow up all the way to old age without a scratch. I am not one of those parents.
Just before Blake turned one month old, days before his second visit to our local paediatrician in Toronto, a red mark appeared on his left armpit. It looked red and nasty. Immediately we started panicking and wondering what might have caused it. What kind of stupid thing have we done to our tiny little baby? Was it from the one time I pulled him up from the front of his onesie? Did we leave some object in his bed? Theories were flying around and soon so were accusations. Oh God, the embarrassment facing the paediatrician with this injury. They were right all along: Gay people shouldn't be parents!
It turned out to be a perfectly normal birthmark that should disappear in a few years. Maybe Blake won’t be able to model sleeveless shirts any time soon, but that was all it was. We did nothing wrong after all.
The next scare, I’m afraid, was entirely my fault. Probably one of the dumbest things I have ever done in my entire life, and boy I have done dumb things. Even now, almost a year later, thinking about it gives me chills. It was December and Blake was only six months. We came back from a visit to friends out of the city and we just drove back and parked outside of our house. The dogs were in the very back of the car and I was sitting with Blake in the back seat. It was cold and drizzly outside and I had to take Blake out of car seat, put him in his little snuggly snowsuit and go home. Then again it was literally a twenty seconds walk. Should I really bother dressing him up and then undress him back inside for twenty seconds? Less if I walked faster. I suspect you see where this story is going.
Ignoring my husband’s request to dress my son up, I was very clever and simply took him out of the car and walked home fast. No, not walked. I think I actually dashed. Then happened something that has never happened to me in the six years I lived in that house in Finchley. I slipped. There were wet winters before, there was even ice and snow. But I never actually slipped and fell crashing into the ground. And this time I was moving fast and holding the dearest cargo in the entire world in my hands. The entire world shook and WHAM. There I was on my knees with a screaming baby in my hands.
I wobbled up to my feet mumbling “on no” again and again. Miron came out of the car and was entirely calm.
“What happened?” He said quietly. “Shall we go back into the car and drive to the hospital?”
Miron usually freaks out if a glass of juice spills on the carpet or if I forget to take the wet washing to hang and it get all wrinkly. So when he’s cool as ice I know he’s beyond freaking out. Complete and utter shock, you might say. There we were standing in the cold, dark and wet driveway outside our house completely helpless.
“He’s crying, I guess that’s good.” I was saying without convincing myself. I looked the screaming boy all over, especially his head. No bumps, no bruises, no bleeding. He looked fine.
Then I looked down and realized why. My nice trousers were torn at the knees and my knees were all bloodied. Falling down I grabbed Blake close to my chest and broke the fall with my knees. What I lacked in common sense I made up for with paternal instincts.
We walked inside and I put Blake in front of Baby Einstein. He immediately calmed down and stared and the screen with wet eyes. I looked him all over very careful. He must have got a bit of a jolt and a scare, but he was fine. But what if I didn’t break the fall with my knees, what if… Too awful to even think about. That night we checked on him every thirty minutes or so. For the next week I had a difficult time climbing the steps and couldn’t go down on my knees to change diapers, instead having to get down and up in an awkward and uncomfortable manner. I totally deserved these little reminders of how stupid I was.
I was just lucky. Some parents pay the ultimate price for the tiniest mistake, the briefest lack of judgement. It was the dumbest mistake I have done as a parent, probably as a human being, but unfortunately not the last…
To Be Continued! (Go to part 2)