Stairway to Freedom

November 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm 7 comments

DSC01518This past Friday night we reached a mile-stone in our home. We took a giant step towards trust; embracing the disasters that are sure to result but are now part of grinning and bearing it through childhood. And after what happened just eight months ago, you might think we’re crazy.

With a curious little climber on our hands, a baby gate at the base of our stairs that led to our loft was a necessity. Even before Reagan could walk, she was determined to pull herself up that staircase as part of her daily exploration of her new surroundings. Before she could accomplish that goal, we had a sturdy, steel gate installed that we were sure would keep her safe from harm for years to come. Our greatest fear was the thought of her helplessly tumbling down that staircase and nothing we could do to stop it. On March 15, 2008, our fears were realized.

Reagan was dressed in her comfy, fleece, rubber-footed jammies and giving me a kiss good-night as I sat at my desk working in the loft. Danny was taking her to bed and they were at the top of the stairs as I spun around in my chair to get back to work. The next thing I heard will be forever imprinted in my memory. Danny let out a huge GASP! And then there was a thump, thump, thumpity-thump over and over again as if a watermelon had just rolled down the stairs. Reagan had started down the stairs before Danny could get a hold of her hand and had fallen at the first step. I looked back in horror at what I had just heard. I saw Danny running down the stairs after her. “OH MY GOD!” I don’t remember who said it first. It was after what seemed like the longest pause in history that we heard Reagan, now lying on the landing looking up at us as we rushed towards her, let out a whale that pierced both my eardrums and my heart. I already had the phone in my hand calling “911” as I scooped her up and tried to talk to the dispatcher at the same time. I had to hand Reagan off to Danny to complete the call. My heart was pounding and I know there was fear in my voice as I could hear my daughter screaming for me, “Mommy, mommy!” I couldn’t get off that phone soon enough.

The paramedics arrived within 10 minutes of my phone call, and just after Reagan had finally calmed down and stopped crying. She didn’t seem to mind a bit that there were now six hunky firemen all standing over her asking questions and examining her. She has always adored men. Whenever a man enters our home she immediately warms up to them and has them wrapped around her little finger within minutes. It was no different with the firemen. She was pouring on all of her charm. This was far better than going to bed. Especially the ride in the ambulance to the emergency room. She loved every minute of it. After a few hours of observation, Reagan was released. Not a scratch on her.

Since then, it has been impressed upon Reagan never to walk up or down the stairs without first having a hold of one of our hands. She herself has made sure of this. We recently taught her how to scoot down the stairs on her bottom and this is now her preferred method. However, being the climber that she is, she could now scale that gate quicker than we could stop her. The gate was no longer an impediment to her, only to us as it slowed us down. It was time to get rid of it. Wow. Now there was nothing in between Reagan and our fear of a repeat of the night of March 15th. It felt scary, but also liberating as I watched Reagan holding the gate and Danny unscrew it from the wall. At first, she was troubled by seeing it go. “My gate, my gate!” she cried. It didn’t take long before she realized her new found freedom.

The next morning I was on the phone when Reagan raced up the stairs, relishing the liberty to explore at will. I soon followed after her, the phone still to my ear. She met me at the top of the staircase, a red marker in one hand, the other outstretched at me. “Stop! Move away. Move away!” She shouted. This wasn’t good. I needed to finish up on the phone and see what mischief had been wrought. A few minutes later I was in the loft beholding Reagan’s handiwork. Oh, the horror! We’d been “tagged!” Red embellishments on the carpet, window sill, furniture and as many toys as she could get her hands on. All in the space of ten minutes! I wrestled the red marker from her hand as she tried to continue decorating my office chair. Her little wooden pull-toy train, my biggest disappointment. Here it is AFTER I did my best to clean it up with rubbing alcohol. There have been other mini-disasters since involving Play-doh. But, I won’t go into those now.

Now that Reagan has marked her territory, we are establishing new boundaries. And that seems to be how it is. An ebb and flow of opening gates and setting up new ones. I’m sure we’ll be trying to keep Reagan from scaling those new gates every step of the way too.

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Entry filed under: Raising Reagan. Tags: , , , .

Weathering the Storms for 8 Years Now Thankful for New Beginnings

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lori in Denver  |  November 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    What a scary, scary thing to happen.

    Whew! The red markers seem so inconsequential, in comparison.

    Cute pic!

    • 2. Mama Bird  |  November 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm

      Yes! She could paint the room red and I’ll still have that moment to give me perspective. Thank God for perspective!

  • 3. Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck  |  November 16, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Oh. My. Gosh. I am so fortunate nothing like that has ever happened. I don’t think I could have dealt with it as well as you!

    • 4. Mama Bird  |  November 17, 2009 at 3:34 pm

      I’m surprised that Hadley hasn’t given you a scare yet! After all your Murphy family moments, I know you’re well equipped to deal with anything that comes your way!

  • 5. Helen  |  November 17, 2009 at 7:31 am

    How scary about Reagan’s fall down the stairs! There was some angel intervention there for sure.

    If it’s any consolation (and probably not at the moment!), our daughter drew on her shoes, walls, carpet, whatever, at that age. Her plentiful creative juices are now being put to good use as a photo major in college.

    Hang in there! Good luck diverting Reagan’s attention; it’s a BUSY age 🙂


    • 6. Mama Bird  |  November 17, 2009 at 3:36 pm

      Oh, she definitely has a guardian angel! This wasn’t her first trip to the ER, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. God give me strength!

  • 7. Fiona  |  November 17, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    stairs freak me out with babies! just in case you didn’t notice the blue marker streaks on my couch when you were over the other night ….. just remember crayola makes washable for a reason!


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