Everyone is always talking about the difficulty of returning to normalcy with a baby after holidays, vacation, and illness, and we've had all of the above the last several weeks, so I was expecting a tough time. When Leo did pretty well the first couple days back, I dared to hope for the best. Then came the day when he took two super short naps and seemed exhausted, so I tried putting him down for a third nap. He screamed.
'He needs this,' I thought. 'He has to sleep or he won't make it till bedtime.' He'd been going down so rationally lately too, as if he understood that he'd feel better after a nap. So I figured this was the rough patch after our trip, and I let him cry. In fact, I closed 2 doors on him and didn't turn on the monitor. I didn't need to. I could still hear him screaming.
After 20 very, very long minutes, I called Aaron at work to consult. "I don't know what I'm doing this for," I said, feeling confused. Aaron agreed I should go get Leo and just try to keep him going till bedtime, so I opened the nursery door and stopped, stunned. The screaming was not coming from the crib. It was coming from directly behind the door. Leo was lying face down on the wood floor several feet from his crib shrieking his head off.
I could barely process that my pre-crawling 8 month old had somehow gotten himself out of the crib and across the room, and I was overwhelmed by the thought that he had been crying in pain from a fall for I don't know for how long. I picked him up gingerly, expecting broken bones, blood, a concussion. He stopped crying, like he usually does when I pick him up.
I called the doctor, who told me that if Leo was using all his limbs okay, I should just be very careful not to let him fall again in the next days, and if he started vomiting, a sign of concussion, I should take him to the ER. It's been several days since this happened, and the baby still doesn't have a bruise on his body. I have no idea how he got out of the crib and onto the floor. Did he carefully lower himself onto the upholstered chair and then slither onto the ground? Did he simply bounce from the top of the crib rail to the parquet floor below and somehow not sustain any injury?
Suffice it to say I lowered the crib mattress. And my self-esteem. As for Leo, well I haven't wanted to put him down since, even though he seems completely fine and is napping peacefully as I type (I know because I have the monitor so loud I can practically feel his pulse). I feel horrible for letting this happen and embarrassed to admit that it happened, because, well I just wish it hadn't. But it did. And all I can do is feel very, very lucky that nothing worse happened, and that I've been reminded that taking care of Leo is the most important job in the world, and I can never stop trying to be better at it.