This week’s installment is a day early as Joanie, Eric and I are off to New York for the weekend. All our fellow passengers on the plane are in for a real treat.
My friends watch me with what I think is unease as I flip Joanie around with much more calm than I did when she was first born. All the photos of her and I in the first few days of her life feature my tensed shoulders and thin nervous smile. As I grasped my new baby I would think, “just don’t drop her.” Although I have since become significantly more comfortable holding my daughter, I still fear the inevitable first drop.
Everyone has a story about accidentally hurting his or her kid. My parents have both independently told me the story of pulling my brother out of the baby carrier on a plane and smacking his little head on the overhead compartment to the shock and chagrin of all the other passengers. Oddly enough they both take responsibility for it and can’t agree on who actually did it, which is a nice thought in a weird way. It implies that they were a parenting team.
While the idea that every parent has dropped their child at some point creates a sort of club of commiseration, it is still terrifying. My initiation is both daunting and horrifying.
As I watch Joanie struggle somewhat successfully to roll around on my bed, I am tempted to leave her there I while run to the W.C with some certainty that she isn’t mobile enough to make it over the edge. The fear of her falling stops me because she is only incapable until she is capable. Who knows when that will be? It was only recently that she couldn’t pick things up. Now her favourite activity is putting stuff in her mouth. All of a sudden I have to be vigilant about the little bits and pieces that find their way to my floor.
The same goes for the words I carelessly drop here and there. When Joanie was still in her first weeks we didn’t pay much attention to the language we used. Both Eric and I have a touch of the sailor’s tongue and have since had to retrain our speech idiosyncrasies. We’ve replaced all curse words with foods. I might exclaim, “Oh Hamburgers,” or Eric might complain about some Muffin Fluffer Nutter. If Joanie is accidentally privy to a violent scene on T.V we are sure to say, “he’s spilling his ketchup everywhere.” We know that she doesn’t speak yet and she probably won’t for some time, but who knows when she’ll start understand if she hasn’t already. I would be mortified, but also perversely proud if her first words were “I’d fucks with that.”