One of our most urgent projects this summer has been to babyproof the house. Finn is SO amazingly mobile and fast these days that we have to follow him around everywhere like security guards in order to keep him free from potential catastrophe. We’ve done a pretty thorough job with his room, removing all objects his busy hands might use in harmful ways, putting up a fixed closet door in place of the “closet curtain” we had up before, getting a secure baby gate for the doorway, and even padding the low-level marble sill under the window that spans almost an entire wall of the nursery. Although we’re trying to make modifications in the rest of our house, as well, the truth is that we just have to make sure we’re within arm’s reach of Finn when we’re, well, everywhere else.
“Everywhere else” IS, of course, where our first two minor accidents happened — and within 15 hours of one another. First, yesterday evening Finn was playing on his Daddy’s legs on the couch and collided with Keith’s foot, acquiring an odd, toenail-shaped crescent and two-inch scrape on his perfect, little forehead:
I was so distraught that I actually called the pediatrician’s office. How should I clean it? Should I use neosporin afterward? His forehead was contaminated with a TOENAIL! Ugh!
But it gets worse. This morning in the kitchen, as I pleasantly prepared a quick breakfast and Keith watched Finn terrorize our cleaning robot, Finn somehow cut his baby toe on the foot pedal of the garbage can. Before we realized what had happened, we saw drops of blood on the floor and on his foot and for a moment thought he had lost a toe to the robot. I felt surges of panic, guilt, shame, helplessness. What kind of parents ARE we, anyway? How in such a short period of time could Finn get hurt literally from head to toe?
I realize that I can’t protect Finn from every harm. In nine short months, he’s experienced the agony of teething, the itchiness of a neck rash, the misery of a cold, the irritation of mosquito bites, and the pain of vaccinations (not to mention the startling discomfort of coming into a cold, bright, loud hospital room). Watching my son bleed, however, instilled in me a greater fear of danger. I can see now how easily, quickly, and unexpectedly it comes. I’ve had people chuckle at me and say, “wait until his first stitches,” or “wait until his first broken bone.” His FIRST? What?
It was easier to keep my baby safe when he was in my arms. What do I do now? I can’t babyproof the world, can I?