Her daughter begged her to blow-dry her hair “straight, like that one Halloween”. There was no school that day, so she agreed to do it. The baby was fussy so she tucked her in the baby bjorn and started blow-drying her hair.
Her mind was distracted by all that needed to get done that day: drop Phoebe off at her little student film set, vote, go to the storage unit if she could, interspersed with thoughts of lice….anytime she did anything with hair she was reminded of that fateful day when she was blow-drying Phoebe’s hair and discovered the little creatures.
She noticed the baby was kind of leaning on the top lip of the bjorn, sitting in a fashion that was different from normal…she figured this was what a baby could do when they were just standing around (as opposed to walking at a steady clip or sleeping). She continued brushing and thinking, when suddenly, the baby was out of the bjorn and on the floor.
The first image she has is of the baby’s head on the tile, her toes on the 6 inch lip of the shower, elevated above her head. It happened so quickly. The next image is of the hairdryer, still on, laying on the floor and her middle daughter a look of confusion and horror.
She picked her up, felt the back of her head, rushed to the freezer, applied ice, bounced, rocked, tried to nurse her inconsolable baby crying real tears. Her mind raced and she felt as helpless as a woman could possibly feel. She couldn’t believe after 10 years and 3 babies she could have forgotten a latch on the contraption that keeps the baby in, and how could the baby just FALL OUT!?
The baby calmed down but remained shaken. She got a flashlight to see if her pupils could tell her anything, then she went into the bathroom and turned the lights on and off on and off, watching for those little black circles to contract.
She called the doctor to see if there was anything she needed to look out for. As she waited for the doctor to call her back she nursed standing up, because the swaying helped the baby to latch on and stay on.
She started imagining herself in a court room on trial for TERRIBLE MURDEROUS MOTHER. She looked around her room and picked out all the evidence that could be used against her-that carseat (She was adjusting the straps that morning, as you can see she did it IMPROPERLY, trying to make her daughter’s murder look like an accident), the baby shoes in the crib (clearly this woman had it out for her baby, putting potential choking hazards in with the baby as she slept), the chords on the blinds (these blinds are not baby proof, her children could be strangled by these chords) and on and on.
The doctor called and told her it was a good sign the baby cried and to watch for sever crankiness, lethargy and vomitting. The doctor was very kind and she was sure she made a note in her chart, further evidence for the courts! The baby went about her day as usual and showed no signs of concussion or the like. She comforted herself by thinking: well, if the fall took her smarts, at least she’s got her looks.