I think everything about parenting follows some sort of pattern of highs and lows. Even never having experienced it myself prior to Jacob, it was touched upon in one of my all-time favorite movies, Parenthood. There's a scene near the end (and I believe this theme may have been alluded to elsewhere in the movie) where Steve Martin's character is going through some parental torture (I believe it's when his youngest is tearing apart the stage that his other kids are performing on, because another kid was mistreating his sister--in the play, of course) and you hear the sound of a roller coaster in the background...basically illustrating the emotional roller coaster you go on as a parent...the highs, the lows, the anticipation, excitement, etc. And really, it couldn't be more true. I've definitely experienced it over the course of the last year...as recently as last weekend, when we had a horrible early day on Saturday, a great Saturday evening, and a rough Sunday. Up and down, up and down...
Last night I went from a great high to a serious low....or almost serious low. I got home from work and my weekly workout and Craig headed out to play floor hockey for the first time in a couple years. So, for the first time in a while, it was just Jacob and me for the evening. He was just waking up from a late afternoon nap, and we sat down to dinner. He's been doing pretty well with eating lately, and last night was probably as good as I've seen him. He started with a few sweet potato puffs while I was getting other food ready, then ate 1/3 of a stage 3 jar of vegetable beef something with a tablespoon or two of cereal, then ate quite a few carrot bits, and then ate a bunch of peach pieces. He even learned how to feed himself with a fork! See, he loves peaches but they're slippery so he's had a heck of a time picking them up. I try to let him work on it (can't hurt the dexterity thing) but he eventually gets frustrated. So, I went and grabbed a baby fork...a nice dull plastic one. I speared the peaches for him, handed him the fork, and he actually got it in his mouth quite a few times. He loved it and it was fun to watch him! He ate everything that was given to him, and pretty happily at that, so I was thrilled.
After that we headed out to run a couple errands. He was content throughout, which was nice. I swear, he is one happy camper when he is out in the world. If he's out and has stuff to look at, it's rare for him to have a meltdown. And even then, some TLC from mama seems to help :) Anyway, it was sprinkling a bit by the time we got to Wal-Mart. Our Wal-Mart has been upgrading lately, changing their sign, repainting the facade, and making some general improvements throughout the store. Well, one of the improvements was a new tile floor in the entrance. And I suppose it was just a bad combination of smooth tile, foam flip flops, and a touch of moisture from the rain, but the second I hit it, I slipped. I went down hard, landing on my butt with one of my feet under me. I went down hard and fast, with Jacob in my left arm. The force of the fall hoisted him over my shoulder, but I held on tight and he didn't get far...maybe halfway down my back. He let out a little gasp and I was shaken and perhaps a little bruised, but fortunately, we were both fine. However, the thing that sticks in my head is what would have happened had I not been able to hold on to him. Jacob would have flown over my shoulder, head first into the tile floor. Ugh...I don't even want to think about it. I worry enough about that stuff on a day to day basis. I'm constantly worried about the hypothetical one time I'm not watching him like a hawk and he figures out how to do something dangerous. As it is I have a hard time controlling myself when he's trying to crawl off his changing table (every day) because I find myself raising my voice, almost in a sub-conscious attempt to catch his attention and stop him from taking a header off the table. Stuff like that makes me so nervous...any sort of hard floor or furniture that might be in his fall zone. There are times he's so squirmy in my arms and he almost squirms out...but fortunately I've been able to catch him every time. It's scary stuff, and it could change everything in a single moment. The thought of something happening to him makes me absolutely crazy. I'm just so in love with his smiling face, his giggle, his little noises, the slap of his hands as he crawls across the hardwood floors, how he hugs me and grabs my face...all of it...and to ever have that stolen from us by one stupid moment, one freak accident...ugh. Unthinkable. It was a scary moment that could have been so much worse. Perhaps I should have flagged someone down and milked it a bit to see if we could have built up Jacob's college fund (Craig told me some stories from his Wegmans days, and I was shocked at what out-of-court settlements ran them), but quite frankly I was just thankful we were both okay and I just wanted to do what we had to do and go home. Hopefully by next time they'll have some rugs down or something...because I can't imagine I'm the only one with soles like that, and other people may not be as forgiving as me. Let's just hope I remember next time.
This morning the roller coaster was back up to the top of the hill. Jacob slept in (of course, I couldn't) and woke up really happy. It gave us the unique opportunity to see how a morning without a feeding would go. And on my end, it was fine. I pumped around 10, which means I went over 12 hours without an emptying...and I was fine. He stayed in a good mood right through his dropping off at day care, so we'll see how his day went after I left. All I know is that I got some great smiles this morning...enough that it was harder than usual to leave him. I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend with him, including a trip to the Buffalo Zoo for his cousins' birthday party and his first real dip in the pool at Craig's parents' house. Should be fun!