The most terrifying moment of motherhood so far... - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The most terrifying moment of motherhood so far...

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Today marked an important milestone in my life as a parent.  

Let me start by giving you a glimpse into our usual morning routine.  Sometime between 2:00 and 2:30 am, Billy gets up for work.  Before leaving, he re-tucks Victor in bed and kisses us both goodbye.  Sometime between 5:00 and 5:30, I get up.   I'll check the video monitor and see that Victor is still asleep in his crib with the door to his room closed.  With him still asleep and safe in his crib, I get into the shower and get myself ready.  Sometimes while I'm getting showered or ready, I'll hear the "thump" of Victor banging on the wall or jumping on his mattress.  When I'm finished, I'll go into his room, where I usually find him either still asleep or standing up in his crib. 

This morning, everything was going along as usual – I even heard the "thump" halfway through my shower.   Not hearing anything after the "thump", I assumed that as usual, he'd found something to entertain himself quietly in his crib or had gone back to sleep.  I went about my morning routine.  When I got out of the bathroom, I looked down the hallway to see the door to Victor's room wide open.   I was almost positive that it had been closed when I passed it on my way down the hall this morning.  I went into his room, turned on the light and saw…

Nothing.  His crib was empty.  He was nowhere to be found in his room. 

"Victor!"  I cried out – four or five times as I raced through rooms.  Finally, I heard a quiet "Mom?" from the laundry room, followed by tiny feet going "pad, pad, pad" back down the hallway toward me.   Carrying his favorite monkey, "Chongo", Victor came plodding at me with a smile on his face.  It was almost as though his expression was saying, "oh, hi mom – I didn't know you were awake, too!  I've been hanging out around the house, you know – just morning stuff." 

My heart was beating in my face, my nose and throat were pulsing with the "I'm going to cry" lump sitting right on the edge.   The rest of our morning was pretty normal (although I still haven't shaken the feeling that I'm going to start bawling at any moment). 

Every possible worst-case scenario has gone through my head this morning.  What if he had figured out how to unlock a door & go outside?  What if he made his way into the basement workroom and hurt himself with a tool or other dangerous object?  What if…(the list goes on to infinitum).  You think the one place I could keep my son safe would be in our own home, right?  I'm questioning that so much, now. 

Starting with today's nap, we'll have a baby-gate up in the doorway of Victor's room for every sleep-event.  I'm worried that he'll figure out how to climb over the gate using the stepstool he carries around with him.  Looks like we're going to need to put up the 2nd gate at the end of the hallway.  I'll be absolutely shocked if he finds a way to get over a 2nd gate (without the stepstool). 

I'm wondering what other parents do at this stage?  Should I start getting up even earlier to guarantee Vic isn't awake before I'm ready?  That seems like the only logical answer.  What do I do once the new baby is here and I have to spend my early morning time nursing?  I'd love to hear suggestions!

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