I work part-time. As a PA.
According to Daddy Pig I spend my days biscuit arranging. Yes, because that’s what us PAs do. We wile away the hours making pretty patterns with bourbons and custard creams.
Anyway, Thursdays and Fridays are my days off work. Let me rephrase that. Thursdays and Fridays are my days spent with the girls. There’s no ‘off work’ about it.
So like all working mums, when I do spend time with them I like to make it count. You know, quality time. Perhaps a day trip. To the farm. Or the park. Or maybe A&E.
That is how we spent yesterday after Godivy threw herself down an entire flight of stairs. 12 to be precise. I know this because I’ve since counted them as everyone at the hospital seemed to want to know exactly how many stairs she’d fallen down. Perhaps there is an injury chart based on stair numbers.
I put my hands up. It was totally my fault. Guilty. I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the loud roly-poly tumble (Godivy is not svelte). I was sorting hairclips. Worth risking my baby’s life over? Definitely not. But in the moment it felt important because as any of you with daughters will know, hairclips take over your life. Losing them. Finding them. Forget The Day of the Triffids. They should make The Day of the Hairclips. I find them everywhere. Under cushions, hidden in clothing they’ve never been worn with, in my work bag. Everywhere but in Beaver’s hair.
When I realised Godivy had left the room I still hesitated just for a second. Because I was sorting hairclips. And because for some ridiculous reason, momentarily I trusted her. A 16 month old, newly walking toddler with kamikaze tendencies. It was an accident waiting to happen. And it happened.
Neither Daddy Pig nor I are cautious parents. We can’t afford to be with Beaver who has her own stunt repertoire and Godivy who is into things we didn’t even know we owned. But on this occasion, Daddy Pig told me to go to A&E. Just in case. So we did.
The lovely nurse who assessed Godivy wasn’t particularly worried. She seemed none the worse for her gymnastics. But we had a long wait anyway to see the doctor during which Beaver berated the quality of her packed lunch. A packet of mini cheddars, a bag of ‘cow biscuits’ and a shared drink. Heaven forbid. Clearly Beaver thought this was a day trip too.
‘But I want my own drink. And I’m hungry.’
Funnily enough, packing a ‘picnic’ had not been the first thing on my mind when we were heading off to A&E. But it was almost 12.00 PM. Typical. We couldn’t have scheduled it around lunchtime and naptime could we?
Two hours, a hospital egg sandwich and a trip to top-up the parking meter later, the doctor saw us. She looked about 15. And definitely didn’t have kids.
‘Do you have stairgates?’
Patronising tone. Perhaps some judgement.
‘Yes we have one,’ I said. But we also have about a million stairs.
‘Does anyone else live with you?’
I wondered who she thought might live with me. It seemed a strange question. Slightly irrelevant. Unless I looked that helpless that I obviously needed to live with someone.
Flippancy aside, I do not take for granted how lucky we were yesterday. Because we were. And it has prompted me to look at our house through Godivy’s eyes. So I have moved cleaning products. And fashioned baby proofing devices to keep her fingers out of drawers. But I will not allow myself to become over-cautious. I would drive myself mad trying to anticipate every danger in Godivy’s path. More so because she is one of those children who finds danger where seemingly there is none. Her dad’s the same.
But Godivy, I do promise you this. I will always try my best to protect you. And I will never, ever again put hairclips before your safety.
Unless The Day of the Hairclips warrants it, of course.