the stairs….a miles stone in every child’s life. when they first discover them, it means baby gates and closer supervision. the goose had a couple of false starts in her journey of tackling the stairs. i have a vivid memory of the first time that she fought the stair and the stairs won. she was 18 months old. we lived in the city at the time. we had had a tree planted in the front of the house that year and i was watering it. the goose was happily playing on the back deck. she had this little plastic chair that she loved. i checked on her and she was happily sitting in the sun playing. the next time i poked my head down the alley i could she she was doing this thing where she’d pick up the chair and move it and then sit somewhere else. not a new game for her, but this time it had a dangerous twist. she kept moving closer to the stairs. only, because she was lifting the chair up, she couldn’t see where she was going. the next sequence of events were in slow motion, compounded by the fact that i was 5 months pregnant. i didn’t want to scare her so i didn’t yell, but i couldn’t get there fast enough. she walked right to the edge of the stairs, chair held high. the fall looked like those hunting videos where the buck gets shot while it’s leaping into the air and falls on his face. luckily she fell like a rag doll and only suffered a couple of scrapes on her face. she was a little less cute in all of the pictures that summer, but i couldn’t stop replaying the slow motion video in my head…for weeks. ah, a mother’s guilt.
the next time the stairs got the upper hand was a year later. we had moved into our current house. she had mastered the stair by now, or so we thought. for this battle i didn’t have a visual, but the audio told the story. when i came running it was obvious what had happened. she was going down the basement stairs with a cup in her hand. she couldn’t comfortably reach the railing. she lost her footing, rolling down the stairs, and by some strange circ de soleil like acrobatics landed on the cup…with her face….right on her eye. for days after, she looked like a parody of a boxer, with a rainbow around her left eye. the day after she fell, stubby hubs hunk put another pair of railings a foot below the original ones.
the bug never fell down the steps. he took a long time making the leap from the army crawl to walking, but once he did he was fairly sturdy.
what got me thinking about this is how far we have come. my kids went from looking at, to mastering the stairs. yet, for years i could always tell who it was that was climbing or descending them. they each had their own syncopation. their own stair song, if you will.
now, in the morning, when i hear someone coming down the wooden hill (my grandmother’s expression, which i love) i have NO idea who it is. my whole family sounds the same.
upon making this realization, i took a deep breath and long swig of my coffee and went back to making their lunches. after all, to them, it’s just another day.