As I bemoaned Joshy's penchant for hurting himself, my stepson Noah, who is nearly thirteen, sarcastically told me to wrap the boy up in bubble-wrap or put him in a plastic bubble. Ignoring his tone, I told him the wrap is a choking hazard, and my husband agreed the bubble ball is too. Well, I must have these guys trained, because my other stepson Shay, at eight, quickly corrected him, saying "no, Daddy, it's a suffocation hazard." Joshy's bros can sure categorize hazards.
My favorite hazard is the cord on the baby monitor camera. This one wins because of the laughable-cryable nature of the ironic twist (no pun intended) that I bought it to be super-safe and make sure my little dude was breathing every second I could possibly stay awake, and yet the thing killed two babies recently. In a more horrible twist, the kids died because their parents placed the camera on the ledge of the crib, wire dangling down the side, within reach of the baby, which is exactly how I had it, being unable to find a more suitable permanent location. The best part is my mommy buddy posted a link to it on Facebook and the mamas we know agreed only a truly dumb-ass parent would put it there. No comment from this dum-dum, except that I can feel slightly relieved knowing he has never slept a night in the crib anyway.
Perhaps my little one doesn't yet understand the concept of pain, mainly that it's something to be avoided. Lately he has taken to manhandling me or anyone else brave enough to pick him up. He sticks his claw-like fingertips under my lip, pulling downward; he violently swings a small chunk of hair that has rebelliously decided to dislodge itself from the protective ponytail; he pinches my nose, twisting it and dragging my head along for the ride. When I say the standard "No, you are hurting your mama," in the requisite scolding tone, looking him in the eyes so it's clear I'm serious, he always smiles and often giggles, as if this were truly hilarious.
The most suicidal characteristic of the baby though is the urge to put any object in his mouth. I recently saw Josh gleefully smiling after sticking a small particle in his mouth. Assuming it was a little piece of cheese that fell earlier I figured I wouldn't worry. Something about the semi-demented happy look on his face though told me I should inspect it. Well, somehow a piece of wood ended up in his play-yard. Kid was enjoying a delicious wood morsel.
Needless to say, I now scan the play-yard for bits of Gd-knows-what that he might enjoy sampling. However, just because it's not there when I put him in it, doesn't mean he won't produce a piece of non-edible mouth-treats. Yesterday morning I cleaned out my purse (which of course was filled with Cheerios crumbs and expired Buy Buy Baby coupons crumpled among the bits of rejected cereal). Meanwhile my little guy, amused himself playing in his play-yard nearby. Three minutes later, I move closer to make sure all is well, only to the horror of a black mush hanging out of the side of his mouth and a bit more of it pasted to his cheeks. In a terrible minute, I searched for clues as to what this strange object could be. Hoping it was merely a forgotten prune, I tried to calm myself. I quickly discovered a trail though of black bits of what seemed to be blueberry bits, leading to his back. I lifted up his sweatshirt and Gd, no! There were yesterday's blueberries, coming up the back of his diaper!
I called my father again. (This was my second panicked call of the day, the first being a problem with Joshy's weenie that really I'm not going to talk about here.) My dad told me not to worry, so I figured this was common, asking for reassurance with a "my sisters and I did this when we were babies too, right?" "Oh no, you girls never did. We always changed your diapers right away. We were really on top of that." This was slightly less reassuring, but overall the conversation did leave me slightly relieved of the guilt of being a crappy mom. (Again people, no pun intended.)
I'm not sure when Joshy will stop trying to hurt himself, but until then I may need to give up my few remaining simple pleasures in life--showering, sleeping, eating and pooping. I will be a dirty, cranky, hungry, constipated bee-och, but at least my baby will live till his first birthday.