Thump

Grady got a "big boy" bed last year. He and Shawn went to the store and picked out a bunk bed with a desk underneath and tons of storage. He rarely sleeps in it, choosing instead to sleep in his toddler bed. He likes to climb up and hang out in the bunk bed, though, which is fine with us because we thought the more time he spent up there, the more comfortable he would become.

Yesterday he climbed up into the bunk to look for a toy he had misplaced. I was down the hall when I heard a terrible thump. Annoyance flashed through my mind as my first thought was that Grady had thrown a toy off the top bunk. It had been a challenging morning, full of repeated questions and defiance and a total lack of "listening ears." But then I heard a tiny, strangled "mommy" and my heart dropped to my toes and I ran. Truth be told I waddled, quickly, but it felt like an Olympic sprint.

Grady was sprawled on his back in front of the bunk bed amid a mess of toys and an overturned chair. My brain (and my mom) told me not to move him but he was making the horrible gasping noise one makes when the wind has been knocked out of them and he was terrified (as was I). I picked him up and his body shuddered as he took a deep breath and started to cry.

I thought the overturned chair indicated he'd been trying to reach something (he has certain Lego structures that he's only allowed to play with "with his eyes" per Shawn) but through tears the story came out. He had been on the top bunk (the 6-feet-off-the-ground top bunk) and tried to throw a quilt over the edge because he was looking for a toy. He somehow got tangled up in the quilt and as it fell over the edge, so did he. He fell headfirst over the side of the bunk bed, did a flip, and landed on his back on the toys and chair below.

"Horrified" does not come even close to describing how I felt when I realized what had happened. I called Grady's doctor's office and they told me to take him to the emergency room. Roughly ten minutes had passed and Grady was calming down and talking clearly and moving all of his appendages without difficulty, but they said this was a "better safe than sorry" situation and I agreed. Fortunately my parents were over visiting so they drove us to the emergency room to meet Shawn (there was no way I could drive - I tried to be calm for Grady but inside I was panicked and would have been a hazard behind the wheel).

Grady was a trooper. He was patient and cooperative and charmed everyone in the emergency room. One of the doctors asked if he could stay all day because he was brightening up the place. It was a good lesson for me. Initially I'd been reluctant to take Grady to the emergency room because he was acting like his normal self - I figured we could rule out a serious head injury and not waste the doctors' time / take away from true emergent cases. But because of how Grady fell, and the fact that he landed awkwardly on the assorted bits and bobs that littered his carpet, the doctors had to rule out kidney trauma (something I hadn't even considered, because, you know, I'm not a doctor. LESSON LEARNED, UNIVERSE.).

We were sprung from the hospital late afternoon with an orange popsicle and multiple sheets of information on head trauma and warning signs to watch for. The lump on Grady's head is slowly starting to shrink and apart from a bit of muscle stiffness, he's almost back to normal. He's doing a bit of emotional processing today (he has informed me multiple times that he's never peeing in a cup again - because clearly peeing in a cup to test for blood was traumatizing for him and not at all for the person who had to catch the four-year-old's pee while a million weeks pregnant and hunched over a filthy toilet in a tiny hospital bathroom). But when all is said and done, we got incredibly lucky. The accident could have been so much worse and I shudder at the different outcomes I've imagined since yesterday (I thought Grady might have some trouble sleeping last night but nope, that was just me).

I'm doing a little bit of emotional processing myself. Logically I know that I can't hover over Grady and observe his actions 24/7 but the mama guilt is strong. I have been impatient and snippy snappy with Grady lately as my belly and my pain levels have grown. I've felt relief when he's played quietly by himself in his room because it's given me silence and space to think. And then while I enjoyed that silence and space, my heart flipped headfirst off the top bunk and could have been seriously hurt.

This parenting gig is not for the faint of heart or the weak-stomached.