yesterday (or as judah calls it, "last day") we had our scariest parenting moment to date.
jesse was with the kids and i was getting ready for work in our room. he was starting to load them in the car and they were all three going back and forth from the garage and driveway into the house. if we are less than militant in watching them, the barrier between "what we're trying to do" and "oh hey look over there" or "oh i remember something shiny in my room" become very permeable and they will sneakily slide right back down the hill of productivity. as usual, it was very reminiscent of a cat-rodeo. mini meltdowns, screams of glee, running feet, etc.
i hear judah start to cry in his room and i am thinking that layla must have licked him good or snatched a toy while he wasnt looking. but it lasts past the first scream-wave so i know he isnt doing it just to express frustration. i hear the second and third ones and i am thinking maybe he had to get a spanking since i dont hear jesse comforting him or asking what's wrong.
i start to listen a little more carefully (maybe 10 seconds having elapsed this whole time) and i detect a hint of panic and hysteria in his cries.
so i bolt from my room, down the hall to theirs, and on the way he just goes completely silent--which scares me even more-- and i see the worst site thus far in parenting: judah pinned at the chest under their toppled big, wooden dresser (how did i not hear the fall!?!?!).
i happen to know that this piece is one of IKEA's few real wood items, so i knew it should be heavy, but when i threw it off of him it might as well have been a feather. i feel confident i could have easily tossed a chevy across the room in this situation.
i am checking him for crush injuries (because i have sadly read at least 3 blogs of parents whose children were KILLED by tipped furniture) and screaming for jesse, who comes running in about 10 seconds after me.
judah was pretty scared (understandably) and his chest was a little red from where the thing had landed (that sentence turns my stomach just to read), but praise jesus he only had a bruise on his arm. i am actually not sure how he wasnt hurt more. we did take him to urgent care to get his arm looked at when he kept complaining about it and it swelled up a bit. his X-ray was clean (and the doctor checked his chest and head too just to be sure) and he got a soft cast to wear for a week in case there was a sneaky growth plate fracture not showing up on the x-ray.
let me pause here and say that we are pretty hardcore free-range parents. we make a point to not live our daily lives in fear of or preparation for the one-in-a-million thing (i've written about this before) that can happen. we want to teach them how to live in the world, not to be afraid of it. we dont assume there is a kidnapper around every blind aisle in the grocery store, we dont expect halloween candy to be poisoned, and we know (and have seen) that gravity and fire can teach the kids through experience much better than our constant words. learning the hard way on some things is super-effective. we try to say "what do you think will happen if you do that?" and "is that a good decision?" more than we say "DANGER!!" or "be careful...."
so i dont love the fear-mongering culture that is pretty prevalent in parenting and media today and dont want to be doing that here, but there is certainly a time to scream "FREEZE!" rather than having a conversation (like when they're about to run into traffic), and situations where taking a precaution every time seems like wisdom and not paranoia (i.e. seatbelts).
since everyone but the most ardent hippies owns furniture and since kids are natural climbers, this one seems like a good one to maybe invest some time on preventing (even though a serious injury or death is obviously still pretty rare). because unlike touching an iron or jumping off the couch, sadly, in these tipping situations--just like a car accident--just one incident can be irreversible so.
the sickly ironic thing is that we have actually always been really good about anchoring our tall/climb-able/tippable furniture. most of our stuff is IKEA and they almost always include the hardware for it. the dressed had been anchored in layla's room, but when we converted it to an office in january we moved it to judah's room and just didnt re-dock it. i was thinking they were old enough to know better.
turns out, bigger kids are more likely to have these incidents since their weight and strength is substantial enough to get these big pieces moving to their tipping points. judah actually had pulled out the bottom drawer and used it as a step to try to climb up higher (the whole thing is only waist high on us when we are standing beside it) and that is what started the imbalance.
so i'm not trying to be scary lady , but maybe take a minute and look around your house to the things that are tall or heavy and could tip if a kiddo started gamboling on them. the anti-tipping kits are super affordable and easy to install.
funny story: when i was pregnant with judah i was decidedly more paranoid (and had more time on my hands to dream up insane scenarios). he had this little hip-high shelf made for holding little baskets in his room. it was like $5 from michaels and i think it maybe weighed 2-3 pounds total. i totally anchored that thing to the wall like it was the washington monument casting its cold shadow on my unborn child's crib and many seismic events were eminent. so yeah...you can take this too far.
static cheesing on the jump-o-line in his new "power sleeve"