Athena fell today. Not just that cute drop to the ground that she does when she's walking. No... she fell down the stairs today. And worse, it was under my watchful (or not) eye. (Let me say right now that she is just fine and is slumbering peacefully in her crib. As I read over the description of her fall, I realized how scary it sounds, and I want you to know up front that there wasn't even any blood... she's fine).
We cannot seem to buy a baby gate for the top of our stairs. The railing goes right to the very top of the stairs, and therefore, unless we can find a rather short gate, we cannot install anything there. The railing gets in the way.
So we have been improvising with the top of my dad's old poker table and my old step stool. Basically, the top of the table is big enough to block the stairway, and the stool holds it upright. When we want to go down the stairs, we have to roll the table top out of the way (it's octagonal) and then move the stool aside.
Tonight, Chris was downstairs with his friends, and Athena and I were upstairs. Now, for those of you who don't live close by, you may not know this, but Athena is Daddy's Girl. Ever since I stopped providing milk, I have been known to her as "the other one." Given the choice between Mommy and Daddy, she will take Daddy any day. Yes, it hurts, but I figure once a second one comes along, she'll suddenly wonder why I never play with her anymore and I only love "the baby."
So anyway, she heard Daddy's voice downstairs and clearly wanted to go down. So I took her hand in my left hand, and I rolled the table top away with my right. Unfortunately, she didn't want to wait. She CAN go down the stairs when you are holding her hand. She often will hold on to the railing with her other hand, even though it's a bit too high for her to really use it. But she didn't have a good footing and I didn't have a good grip. There was a split second of shock on her face as everything went to slow motion.
I quickly grabbed for her, but I was too late. She was leaning too far back for me to catch a hold of her, so I started SCREAMING for Chris to get to the bottom of the stairs, hoping that he could catch her before she hit the hardwood. She fell backwards and rolled once... butt, to head, to stomach. As she hit her tummy on the stairs, her body went fairly rigid, thank goodness. By now, she was midway down the stairs and Chris just caught sight of her. As he moved into position at the bottom, she bounced down about six stairs on her belly, feet first... *BOUNCE* *BOUNCE* *BOUNCE* and she came to a stop about six steps up. Then she started wailing.
Chris scooped her up and held her and soothed her as best he could. We checked for injuries and found nothing but a small scrape on her chin. After quite a bit of comforting and a dose of Tylenol just in case, she was willing to come back to me for some quiet time, and then I put her to bed.
I, in the meantime, am still completely terrified and shocked by what I saw. She was like a doll falling down the stairs. I've never seen anything like it. And I hope I never do again. I hope I can actually go down the stairs MYSELF again. *shiver*