|The face of innocence?|
Alas, each milestone, whether it be crawling, walking, or his ever emerging independence, has brought about new rounds of worry. Would he fall and hurt himself? Would his desire to explore introduce him to an unanticipated danger? These were the things that kept me up at night but gradually, ever so gradually, my fears subsided. And then we would enter a new phase and I would start to worry all over again. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of things we picked up and moved to Albania; probably the most child loving yet un-child proofed place on earth. This land of concrete buildings, tiled floors, no green space, and exposed electrical wires is a child proofing nightmare. We had been warned that Albania's pediatric care was not only not up to western standards but that there wasn't a single trauma center in the entire country. These are just the facts a parent of an active toddler wants to hear. Our first few months here found me paranoid about Sidney's falling and hitting his head, ingesting something toxic, or getting impaled by a sharp metal object. (These were all realistic fears by the way). These fears slowly subsided and surprisingly continued to diminish even after Sidney fell on our concrete stairs, chipped his front tooth, and survived relatively unscathed. And then Sidney became a pre-schooler.
Last summer I had my first heart in my stomach, paralyzed by fear moment. We were on a weekend trip to a mountain village with a group of colleagues from the Embassy. Late in the evening, with Sidney safely (or so we thought) tucked away for the night in his pack and play in our third floor hotel room, a group of us were sitting outside on the patio enjoying a drink. Because the hotel lacked air conditioning we had set up Sidney's bed under the open window in the hopes that the evening breezes would help keep him cool. We had our baby monitor with us and we able to watch Sidney laying in his bed sucking his thumb and clutching his blanket. At least that is what he was doing one moment. In the next he disappeared from view in the monitor only to reappear in the third floor window. As he peered out over the ledge and made moves to hoist himself up I was paralyzed by fear. Glenn made a mad dash across the patio, into the hotel and up three flights of stairs as I stood there too petrified to move. Half of our group moved to stand under the window and talk Sidney down as the others moved in to comfort me. Too afraid to look I had to turn my back and in those short few minutes between the time Glenn leaped from his seat until he reached Sidney's side I felt as though I had aged years. It was a horrifying feeling with a fortunate result that I never, ever wanted to feel again.
Fast forward to yesterday. I should have realized that this moment six months ago was only an omen of things to come. In the past months Sidney has grown both physically and intellectually and is now in the "Sidney can do it by himself "phase. I have grown with him and have even gotten better about letting him test his limits (within a controlled environment of course). As such, Sidney has taken to wanting to go from the second to third floors of our house to retrieve things all by himself and for the most part I've gone along with this. He knows to turn on the lights, hold onto the handrail, and be careful with each step. We've also been teaching him to close the door behind him in an attempt to keep heat and cold in their respective places. Yesterday, however, the game changed.
|This looks like trouble........|
|as does this.....|