Friday, November 9, 2007

Jonny's Fall

I find myself watching Jonathan's every move these days. I watch his expressions, his hand movements, his eyes. I worry when he cries too much, when he seems too tired or too irritable. I look for anything that might indicate he has a brain injury. So far, he seems fine. More than fine. He has caught up to his brother and he is pulling up on everything. He is trying to let go and stand on his own. He is crawling fast. So fast, that he crawled to the basement door and fell down 12 stairs two days ago.
It was my fault.
I was distracted.
I had just torn down a book display at the school and unloaded the books into the basement. I was rushing to get the older kids a snack before I had to get my daughter off to dance. I remembered something I had to tell my husband. I got on the phone. A minute or two later, I heard a thud. I had forgotten to either close the basement door or put up the gate. I threw the phone and found Jonathan at the bottom, sprawled on his tummy. That is an image I will never forget. He was crying when I got to him. That was a good sign. I craddled him and cuddled him, but after five minutes he wanted nothing more to do with that. He had spotted a toy he wanted and Matthew was after it too. He wriggled out of my lap and played. I called the doctor. Her nurse gave me the symptoms to watch for over the next 24 hours. It has been two days and I am still watching.
It was a wake up call for me.
I had started selling children's books because I felt guilty that I was not making any money. We were finally getting somewhere with our debts when the twins came along. Now we spend $75 a week on formula and another $30 to $40 on diapers. I order pizza more often because I don't have time to cook. I've had to buy new clothes because I still haven't lost the baby weight.
But Jonny's accident changed my perspective.
In less than three months, the babies will be drinking milk. In two years, they will be out of diapers. I'll lose the weight in time. I can make almost the same amount of money writing articles on my own deadlines, querying them and freelancing them. I've started working on a nonfiction book project that I had abandoned long ago. It involves lots of interviews that I can do at night. I love to interview people. I love to write. Writing relieves my stress. Selling only added to it.
I can't blame Jonny's accident on my job. There will always be distractions. It was one of many. But I can try to lessen the stress. I can try to take care of myself so that I can take care of them. The children's books I sold were great. I love them. I don't mind pushing them on people even though I generally dislike doing any kind of sales. But success involves a lot of marketing, a lot of lugging boxes around and a lot of coordination with other people. It was always on my mind.
With infant twins and two older children whose world has recently been turned upside down, I have other priorities. I can't afford that kind of distraction. I can't afford to leave the basement door open again.

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