Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Babies Really Do Bounce.
Monday was laundry day. Not my laundry, the Bean’s laundry. I used to wash her cute little onesies, her tiny socks, her pink and yellow bibs, and about a billion soiled burp cloths. I actually didn’t even mind doing it. I kinda liked it. I’d carry her with me. The bean in one hand, a jug of pink Dreft detergent in the other. I’d put her on top of the dryer and she’d giggle. She loved the soothing vibration. But one day I learned you can’t do laundry, hold a baby, talk on the phone to your friend, Evan, about a good deal on AD/DC tickets you got on Craig's list at the same time. Especially when you forget your hundred pound, (Ozzy) black Labrador followed you into the hallway, and is lying behind you.
Man, that was the scariest moment in my life. I stumbled, lost my balance, baby in one hand, talking to Evan, phone pressed against my ear, and I’m going down. No stopping it. And it’s happening fast. And all I kept thinking was, “Oh my God! Oh my God! I can’t believe this is happening!” As she flew, yeah flew, the baby’s head hit the floor and my heart went flying out of my chest. I shouted into the phone to Evan, “I dropped the baby! Oh my God, I dropped the baby!” What the hell was I still talking on the phone for?
My first thought wasn’t that I hurt this pure soul, this fragile infant. It was “Oh my God! Brooke is going to kill me! I gave the baby brain damage!” I panicked. I panicked. She wouldn’t stop crying. I tried everything to make her stop. The singing, the shushy dance, the stuffed brown bear. She’d cried before, but never like this. There was no blood at least. I ran to my apartment, Ozzy following. Too bad, he wasn’t Lassie. He would’ve ran for help. So I call Brooke at work, and she hears the screaming, and I say, "Brooke, I think…." and she cuts me off. “Bruce what happened?” The Bean is screaming her head off. “Uh, uh, I think you should come home now.”
Brooke worked close to the office. About a twenty-minute walk—she was home in six minutes. It was like she beamed herself up. She calmed Rowan down a bit. “It’s not that bad,” I said.
Brooke, sweaty, frozen, worried, didn’t look relieved. I thought she would murder me right there. But she was actually okay. "Are you okay?" she asked me. That was nice. But how the hell could I be okay? Somehow I did remain calm, and she followed my lead. I called the doctor. Surprisingly enough, the pediatrician said as long as the baby wasn’t throwing up, there was nothing they could do. Just watch for a concussion. “But she’s crying. She’s screaming so hard. "Can I bring her in?" I pleaded. "If it makes you feel better, sure.”
We rushed her to the doctor’s office. Again, normally a twenty-minute walk. We did it in seven. Thank God, everything was okay. But it was hard to believe. I mean, when I fell, she went flying out of my hands, head first, onto the floor. Man, I really thought I did it. That night, when all was calm, Brooke smiled at me. "Bruce, if you hurt Rowan, I think I would’ve killed you.” She smiled, my beautiful wife, my best friend, but I still shook. I learned two very important lessons from that experience. Number 1: Don’t drop the baby. And Number 2: When you drop her the next time off a bench in a coffee shop, you don’t panic so much — And you don’t tell Brooke right away : )