Lurking Dangers of Dangling Cords
There are times as a parent when you realize that your job is not to be the parent you always imagined you’d be, the parent you always wished you had. Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own life and nature.
The Christmas of 2012 will be etched in our memories forever. It was the time when we almost lost our dear 1 ½-year old Andy forever. Everything started off as any normal Christmas preparation day when we were busy giving final touches to the decorations. What made things special was the babbling interest shown by our son, who’d thoroughly enjoyed the changes around him.
As I was enjoying the attention Andy showed in the decorations, my husband Toni had summoned me to his side to have a look at the lighting he was setting up on the Christmas tree. As we set the lights on the tree, I felt a sense of panic surge through me as I felt I’d heard a weird sound. When I turned around, I shrieked in horror to see our dear Andy, tanged in the cords that had loosed up during our decorations. We had made sure that the cords were secured with the tie-downs but had unfortunately opened up when we were putting our lights and decorations on the windows. Andy must have moved towards the window drawn by the flashy lights in our neighbor’s home. I couldn’t move, as though I was nailed to the spot. Fortunately, Toni could rush to the aid of our child, and then we rushed him to the hospital. We were lucky that Andy had escaped without any serious injury and was back on his feet as soon as we let him down.
Somehow, the incident made a great emotional impact on us, and we had to undergo several sessions of therapy to cope with the trauma. It is tougher on me since I felt the guilt of not doing anything to help my child. How could I just stand there shrieking without doing anything? I wondered if I really did qualify to be a mother or not. It was very scary to think that my child was being might have been strangled by a window cord that had looked so simple and harmless, in the same room that both his parents were present. What beast could be more terrifying than this? What shook me was the silence of the whole process. There was absolutely no disturbing sound that warned us. Every time a child falls, hurts or gets scared we are alerted by that crying that follows. This particular danger was silent, which was the worst part of it.
There were friends who supported by comforting us by assuring that one stray incident doesn’t make us bad parents. But this stray incident could have robbed us of our parenthood itself, so was it not bad enough? As I reeled under the guilt, there were people who blamed us for being irresponsible with our window cords when we had a baby at home and made matters worse for me. They were right. We had to be more responsible. And I continued to suffer from terrible nightmares that kept me awake at nights.
Setting up our home and arrival of our baby had burnt a huge hole in our budget, the reason we could not replace our window treatments earlier. We had taken care to go through every room in the house and check for any blinds or curtains with long cords that were either loose or looped including even those cords that was within Andy’s reach at the floor level or near furniture he could climb on. We had secured them tightly so that our home was safe for our baby. We never left him alone near the windows without one of us supervising him. We had taken precautions, but that was not enough. Yet one cord had loosened by chance and Andy happened to get entangled in it.
The horrible incident made sure that we do not take parenting for granted ever in future. We worked hard in changing our home into a safe place. Nothing mattered more than the safety of our son.
We immediately replaced our old window shades with new motorized cellular shades. I did not much care for the color, design or anything though there were tons of options to choose from. I could not stand to lay my eyes on those killer window treatments which almost stole my son from me. I just wanted them out of our home as soon as possible. Once we got rid of our dangerous window treatment, I started to look at my home in a whole new light, from the perspective of an innocent child. I cleared out all the possible lurking dangers, even if it had a one in a zillionth chance of ever endangering my baby.
I surfed online to find ways to baby proof our home. There were lots of things that could accidently harm babies or tiny tots. I also made sure that everyone we knew who had children would get rid of their corded window treatments. Time is a great healer, and it has healed me as well. I am now carrying my second child, who is going to arrive in 4 months, a playmate for Andy.