In my first Parenting Page column entitled The Long Short Hall I wrote, “Sometimes I know when my husband and I are being crazy, and we still can’t stop it, even when we discuss out loud how crazy we are.” …Then there are the times you don’t know you’re being crazy as a parent, that become very funny in retrospect once you have perspective on your own nuttiness.
When Page was about five months old she started to sit up. This was wonderful but also made me very nervous because sitting up meant falling over as she was learning to master this skill. She reminded me of the famous “fat cat capsizing” photographs, with her little baby-Buddha-body and her inability to sit up for very long without falling to one side. So I hovered and intervened whenever I could, but especially when on the first floor of our house, which was all hard wood floors. I was more comfortable with her capsizing in the upstairs rooms that were carpeted.
Then one day a guest in our home (that’s my code for a relative I don’t want to identify) sat Page up and let go to take a photograph. She stepped too far back to be in reach to catch Page when she capsized, so Page promptly fell over and hit her head on the wooden floor. I saw this but was too far away to get there to catch Page either. Now, I’m not prone to loud arguments and drama, so certainly I wasn’t going to yell at or chastise the visitor. It was, after all, a mistake. No, instead I decided I needed to figure out how to keep this mistake from ever happening again. Prevention. Always a good approach.
So I went to the mall and purchased enough mattress pads to cover our entire living room area on the first floor. Yes, that’s right, I covered every space Page might be on on our first floor with thick mattress pads. Oh I spared no expense…I didn’t buy cheap mattress pads; these were quite nice and plush. And a rug just wouldn’t do as it left too much surface still uncovered.
Peter came home and while I don’t recall exactly what he said, it was something along the lines of, “Seriously? Are you kidding?” Which must have been a rhetorical question because of course I was not kidding, I had already purchased the pads and placed them covering the floor. Luckily for me, generally speaking my husband is even more cautious with Page than I am, and he can pretty easily be talked into something if I support it. I calmly explained how we needed to ensure Page would never hit her head while she was learning to sit up, and while initially he pointed out probably kids since the dawn of time have been bumping their heads as they learn to sit, soon enough he caved.
We lived that way for several months. I even had my annual office dinner at my home and did not put away the mattress pads. This is how I know I was truly crazy at the time, because it seemed perfectly logical to me and so I didn’t even try to hide it from colleagues. We had a very nice party with so much comfortable surface area on which to sit.
The reality is parenting is the most emotionally laden job you’ll ever have. We all do silly things as parents that later can send us into laughing fits when telling people about “the time I…” And if you tell the story to a group of parents, they’ll chime in with their own stories. The saying that love can make you crazy is probably mistakenly assigned to romantic love, and was more likely referring to a parent’s love for their child. A crazy little thing called love…
Originally published at chapelboro.com on November 22, 2013