Gokey has been accident prone from birth. His actual birth was about as smooth as it gets...it was rather quiet and peaceful and he came out calm and content...and hungry, just a snippet into what makes him tick! I don't know if it's just that he is the second child and we just aren't as doting or concerned as we were with X-man or if he just always happens to constantly be at the receiving end of "the wrong place at the wrong time" scenarios, but this kid has been truly banged up in his short 16 months. Let's see...at 3 months he slid out of my lap during a middle of the night feed during which I just could not keep myself from dozing off, allowing him to tumble to the floor. At 6 months he dove out of Daddy's arms after a diaper change and plummeted to the floor. At 7 months, big brother generously opened the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the basement so Gokey could flip flop down first. At 14 months he slipped head first into a large, very sturdy (sturdier than his noggin, anyway) coffee table that resulted in the largest knot I have ever seen on a forehead in my life. In between all of these there have been numerous bumps, bruises, falls and scrapes...more so, it seems, than his brother ever had, and we truly hope that he never goes bald (although genetics are working against him in this area...thank you very much, Daddy, Grandpa Moose and Grandfather) because I am pretty sure he owns one of the lumpiest heads out there disguised with a very good head of hair at the moment. there have been numerous occasions that I have looked to the heavens and proclaimed tearful "thank-you's" to an extremely overworked guardian angel, who somehow assists in keeping the kid relatively unscathed despite the traumas he stumbles through.
I am forever grateful to this angelic individual today for his devoted protection over the last couple of weeks. The first of this series of events was one afternoon recently when the boys were getting antsy and I promised them after I finished up filling out a part request form online for one of their toys that pooped out prematurely, we would venture to the great outdoors. X-man coaxed his little brother back to his bedroom so they could play until their promised adventure could be fulfilled. I could hear them back there playing so nicely and then X-man emerged carrying an item kept in the top drawer of his dresser that he should not be able to reach. I sternly scolded him, returned the item, closed the 3 of 5 drawers that he had opened in order to climb the dresser to his summit and explained to him that climbing his dresser is very dangerous and could hurt him very badly. All the while, Gokey, rather oblivious to my presence, was playing with puzzles quietly on the floor. X-man repeated my warnings, so it seemed they had been absorbed, I once again promised that I was almost done and we would soon go outside and returned to my internet ventures. No sooner had my rear hit the chair, there was a massive, bone-chilling crash in the bedroom. I launched into a panicked sprint to X-man's bedroom, my only comfort that I could distinctly hear 2 sets of screams, so at least both of my babies were alive. I found X-man glued to the back wall opposite the dresser screaming in terror, where I assume he ran for cover after he began to climb again and watched the event unfold. Poor Gokey was exactly where I had left him last playing with his puzzles, trapped from mid-back down. I lifted the bulky dresser and scooped him up, immediately heading to the car to rush to the ER for fear of broken ribs and crushed organs. X-man trailed behind me in tears, but by the time we reached the kitchen with my very calm, even-toned husband on the phone, Gokey's crying had stopped and he was happily babbling in my arms. How? The next day I expected to find the poor kid speckled with bruises and found nothing. After calming poor X-man down and then myself, I returned to the bedroom to clean up broken glass from picture frames and return 2 very dazed pet mice, Pepper and Brisket, to their humble abode that had been flung to the floor in the crash. A certain angel whispered in my ear to anchor that cumbersome piece of furniture to the wall...and we listened.
Last week, after I had moved on and stopped replaying "what-if's" in my head, we were back into our normal routine. The boys, 2 of our dogs and I left to go on a long morning walk. On these excursions, I usually take the double stroller. Gokey perches up front, X-man rides his bike along until he tires and then the bike can fit between the front seat and the back jump seat where X-man can either ride or walk a dog if he chooses. We were approaching the busiest street that we cross and though the speed limit is 40 mph, the average speed is usually much higher. As we were approaching, I was prepping X-man on the daily reminders to "stop, wait and look both ways when we get there," we slowed to a halt, I was instructing dogs to sit on their hineys and all of a sudden, to my horror, Gokey was zipping out of the front seat to make a dash for the street. He is very rarely buckled in because he likes to hop on and off and stroll with us, but it's never been at such a critical moment and was never something I even let my worst-case-scenario radar ponder. I snagged the giggling bandit before he even hit the street as a mini van zoomed by, completely oblivious to the near miss. Despite the blazing sun and high morning temperatures, I spent the rest of that walk in another teary fog, knowing I would never forgive myself had something terrible happened. A certain, now familiar angel whispered in my ear to buckle the daring darling in...and I listened.
Last weekend we visited my in-laws for the day on Saturday as J's Granny, Gokey's Godmother, was there visiting. I had just relayed the story of Gokey's dash for traffic earlier in the week only an hour prior and was standing by the front door where I could watch the boys play with their cousin and neighbor boy on the adjacent porch and still participate in the conversations in the living room. Someone asked the neighbor boy to recite his brother's names, a list that can be colossal in this small, Catholic community. He spoke them very softly right outside the screen door, so I turned my head to relay the list to the living room. As I turned back, I caught the horrific sight of Gokey once again making a break for the street, his end goal being the trampoline across the street belonging to the "Grandfatherly" neighbor who so generously lends out his yard's treasures to the neighborhood kids. I yelped as he stumbled in his "toddler-jog" into the street behind a parked car as, yet again, a mini van (very prevalent in this prolific community) barreled down the street without the slightest notion that a tiny boy was about to toddle into it's path. I launched into rescue mode immediately and thankfully, the van whizzed by just out of Gokey's reach and I subsequently scooped the giggling bundle into my arms. The van hit the brakes when they realized the near-horror with a glance in their rear-view mirror to see me standing in the street squeezing the life out of the kid in a love-grip of relief. This time it truly rocked me. It was so close to horrible it makes my stomach turn thinking about it. Several hours later, making the 2 1/2 hour trip home I finally broke down. I thought I was watching...just a 2 second glance away and the entire scenario changed! I have learned from Mr. Gokey's angel...I am trying to see ahead, but sometimes my ability to foresee is blurred. I know I can't prevent every fall, bump and bruise...from the looks of it, I haven't prevented many. :) It's no secret that I am a control freak, and realistically I understand that I cannot be there all the time, but there is not a mother out there that wouldn't feel endless guilt if something were to happen to their child when they weren't watching, but they could have been.
This lovely, wonderful angel is still whispering...I am pretty sure he has been all along. Hold them, hug them, kiss them, tell them they are smart, adorable and wonderful...love them! Yes...I am listening.