Lest you were thinking otherwise, we have now determined that the baby has no magical powers of flight, nor has he mastered any Jedi tricks involving levitation.
For about three minutes after dinner last night, all three of my boys sat on the floor with a blanket over their feet watching President Obama's speech. I've promised Slim that I'll be less effusive with my Obama-praise, which is a good thing, but I will say today that I really like how in control and in charge he seems. Whether you agree with his ideas or not, I think it is really hard to question his sincerity or his intensity. I was moved to tears when he announced the volunteerism bill jointly sponsored by Senators Hatch and Kennedy. These men, with their intense and genuine friendship have truly exemplified that to disagree does not mean to be disagreeable. Little Jedi looked up at me and said, "Mom, I'm wondering, what can I do for my country?" Wow. Can America fail if there are children like him? Like yours? Like that determined little gal who stood next to Michelle Obama and took the praise of a nation for her plea not to be given up on? I think not.
But I digress: we were discussing the Youngling's weakness for gravity.
When the three minutes of sitting quietly were up (which might actually be some kind of record), the big boys ran off down the hall on some rendezvous with a sword fight. Youngling followed, squealing, because he wants to be just like them. There was a fair amount of noise coming from their 11 x 11 bedroom which contains a crib, a set of twin bunk beds, a fairly large dresser, a basket for balls, a beanbag that has evolved into the naughty chair and a small trash can. It gets crowded and crazy when they are all in there together, but that pretty much describes my whole life.
I figured that Youngling was climbing up and down the bunk bed ladder, which he taught himself to do last week. (Last Wednesday I walked in the bedroom, scenting out the baby to change his diaper, only to see him sitting on the top bunk with a smug smile that threatened to split his mischievous little face. I asked Padawan how long Youngling had been able to do this and could he get back down? The answers were "For a couple of days" and "Sure!") I've seen him go up and down the ladder several times and saw that he really was proficient: just because my heart nearly stops every time I see him do it doesn't mean he isn't capable, right?
Further, when he sits on the top bunk, he just sits. Or he pretends to sleep after begging for someone to throw his blanket up there. Or he bounces on his padded little tushy. He acts like he is very aware of how high he is. Until last night, it seemed apparent that his new skill was much more about the journey than the destination.
Five minutes before the end of Mr. Obama's speech, there was a lot of extremely loud screaming that erupted all at once from the bedroom, followed by much running down the hall as I jumped off the couch. Youngling had not slipped coming or going on the ladder, nor had he accidentally fallen off the top: by all reports (by which I mean TWO, one from a 4 year old, the other from a 7 year old, so who really knows?) the Youngling deliberately stepped off the railing onto the floor and belly flopped on the carpet.
Before I knew the details, however, I only heard the screaming and so I completely disregarded all of my mediocre first-aidy skills. I did not ascertain if he had fallen on his head. I did not check for broken bones before I moved him. I did not clear the space. I did not order any one to call 9-1-1.
I picked up my dear baby who was crying harder than I have ever heard him cry. His wails were cat-like and high, just like a newborn's. Very scary. It took nearly fifteen minutes of walking and rocking to finally calm him down, and then when we did he was unnaturally still. He lay on my shoulder, hardly blinking, and then sat on my bed sucking his thumb and acting properly dazed. Plantboy said the two most horrible words for a mother, "Emergency room," but I just shook my head and insisted that it didn't do me any good to have two nurses (mom and sister) and a doctor (brother) in the family if I couldn't get some feedback about concussions and internal bleeding before rushing into the emergency room.
It turned out to be my dad who was able to give me the best concussion information. It seems that he was once clocked with a baseball bat. I get waves of nausea just thinking about it. And sis was the fount of knowledge about internal bleeding--incredible pain and puking up blood. Lovely.
The baby perked up by bedtime and seemed mostly back to his normal self, if a little bit resentful. His way of telling me about an injury (real or otherwise) is to point at the thing or person that hurt him and scream, then touch the injured part and make a hilariously pained face. Last night he kept pointing at the bunk beds, keeping them at a safe distance from himself in the other room, and jabbering a whole string of what I can only guess were profanities.
Anyway, I pushed, stretched, poked, wiggled, and prodded him all over and he seems to be doing fine, other than a little bit of resentment over how much of his personal space I chose to invade. Mothers can be so annoying like that. I wonder how he is going to take it when he finds the bunk bed ladder in the garage. . . .