I have sat down thinking about whether to write this post or not for a week now. So much doubt at the reaction a post like this might get. How in that one second I let my daughter down. I took my eye off the ball and it resulted in an accident. But, I have always said that this is my space to write about parenting and not just the good. I would be honest, after all no one is perfect. So here goes…….this is the day my toddler fell down the stairs.
It was a normal Sunday….
…..and the weather wasn’t great so the plan was for Reuben and I to practise making a roulade (we want to make a Christmas Yule log this year and need the practise). Jessica was having a particularly clingy day as well, we put it down to teething but turns out it was hand foot and mouth. Anyway that’s a different story. Sam had been distracting Jessica whilst Reuben and I had done our baking.
We had to wait for the sponge to cool before it could be rolled, so we all played together in the living room. When I went back into the kitchen to roll the sponge, Jessica followed me. I had shut the kitchen stair gate so that she couldn’t get in and touch the oven and get hurt. She sat outside the kitchen playing and whining a little on and off. It had gone quiet which was nothing unusual.
We have a two up, two down house so it’s not massive. There is a stair gate at the bottom of the stairs so she can’t get up there and one on the kitchen so she can’t get in there. She can walk up the hallway and into the living room. She can’t go far. As she wasn’t by the kitchen I assumed that she was either in the living room or sitting playing with the shoes, something she seems to love doing at the moment, and I carried on with the cake.
We had no idea the stair gate had been left open.
It is ALWAYS shut.
Jessica has just learned to climb the stairs and so we always check the gate. Except this time it had been left open. This time she hadn’t been playing with the shoes and wasn’t in the living room. She had climbed the stairs.
I turned round in the kitchen, I was going to peek out and play peek-a-boo with her, we always do it when I’m in the kitchen and she is in the hall. That’s when I saw her. Falling. She fell down the stairs. Top to bottom. I remember screaming out “oh my god” and rushing to the bottom of the stairs. She cried immediately, I scooped her up and held her crying my eyes out. I felt dreadful.
We went into the living room and checked her over, she seemed fine and got down to play pretty much immediately. I had no idea what we should do in this instance and so we rang 111. The lady on the phone was lovely and tried to calm me down. As there were too many maybe’s and I don’t knows she said it was best to go to the hospital to get checked over.
We did and the hospital said they were happy that she was fine. There wasn’t a mark on her and she didn’t show signs of hitting her head. The doctor says we were lucky there was carpet and she was dressed well, it saved any bruising. She literally walked away with not a mark on her. I assume that because she rolled almost side ways rather than head over heels it saved any bumps or nasty injuries.
That day will stay with me forever.
It is something that is now etched in my mind. A vision that I cannot un-see.
The knot that was in my stomach because I didn’t know if she was OK. The knot that made me feel sick. Sick that I had let my baby girl down. I’ve never felt so terrible. I was sure that gate was closed, I was sure that she was playing in the hallway and I was sure she was OK. I was wrong, I was very wrong.
Nothing I can do can take that day away. Before I put Jessica on the floor now we all, Reuben included, check the gates are closed, making sure she can’t pull it open. We have had to thank our lucky stars she was OK, learn from it and move on.