I should have known it would be a terrible day when I knocked over a display of canned chicken broth at the grocery store. When cans are rolling across aisles and under carts, people are staring and you cannot get a grip on the domino effect, you really should just go straight to the exit. Bad luck scores one for the dark side. Canned goods as storm troopers.
Silly me, though, I soldiered on. All the way to the parking lot where the loading of the goods commenced as usual: Landon in the cart, watching me work. I turned around to rearrange a bag of bread (probably so it wouldn't be smashed by the evil canned chicken broth).
That was when Landon and the traitor shopping cart began to roll down the hill behind my unseeing back. Rightfully, there should have been oncoming traffic, according to the Luck Of The Day, but fate must have been a little off, timing-wise. A helpful gentleman saw what was happening before I did and wrangled the cart into submission, returning my smiling boy to my side. An unwilling jockey on a runaway steed. I offered the best known cure for embarrassment: self-deprecation. "Ohmigoodness, thank you so much. There goes my shot at the mother-of-the-year award, right?"
Ha! said the universe, with her storm troopers marching along to the next event. They gave me plenty of respite, but still I was unprepared.
After school, Mia and her friend collided in the hallway -- a forehead met a mouth -- and the thunder echoed through the living room. Mia's lip was pierced by her two front teeth, and her mouth was filled with blood. We applied pressure and rinsed teeth and sipped water. We dried tears and made bad jokes. We even began to smile again. Which only provoked the bad luck train into chugging forth.
Thump, I heard.
And as moms often do, I knew the thumping was my baby's head, and that he was falling down the staircase, and I was horrified and certain all at once that this would be a terrible, terrible thing. I could feel the expression on my face freeze into one of terror and confusion: how had he gotten up the stairs? The gate was closed...
But there he was, rolling over one last time as I rounded the corner, and he was screaming and red and he was in my arms without me even knowing how.
Baby, baby, I've got you. Baby, baby, how did you get up there? Baby, baby, please be okay.
I searched his body and eyes for damage, looking to Lauren for explanations: how did this happen? But she was scared and wouldn't answer. I placed Landon down on the floor to see if he would walk, and I watched as he toddled back to the staircase, to the edge of the closed gate. He looked at me and pushed it aside with all his strength, far enough to squeeze through the gap to the other side.
So. That's how it happened.
The nurse's hotline said that if he seemed fine, he probably was fine, so we relaxed. Oh, there were sit-down talks with the girls -- ALL of the girls: neighbors and sisters alike -- about babies not being allowed on the staircase, and if it happens, mama needs to know RIGHTNOW. It's an emergency, not an entertaining spectacle to be watched with popcorn and giggles.
Yes, ma'am. We understand.
But it wasn't their fault. It was the cloud of bad luck, hovering, ready to spill more acid rain on our day. It's raining cans and babies.
So he was fine until he wasn't, and an hour later when he wouldn't stop crying, the emergency room seemed like the best place to be. It was his inconsolability that frightened me the most; that, and his auto-closing eyes. Noting something about brain injuries and sleep being terrifying, we went in search of doctors. Landon cried for the next two hours, until he fell asleep in my arms in a triage room.
We woke him for x-rays and CAT scans.
He is fine. Sore and tired and fine.
Also, he has bronchitis. Which you cannot get from a tumble down 14 hardwood stairs, no matter how hard you try.
And that was the end of the no good, very unfortunate, series of bad, bad things day. Justin and I ate dinner at ten o'clock like city-dwelling hipsters and fell asleep fast like bed-ridden geriatrics. I noticed as I blinked my eyes one last time that the moon outside our window was bright and full and so, so white.
I dreamed of its dark side, though. The place where bad luck is stored up and doled out to unwitting mothers and their innocent children, one savory can at a time.