Close Calls

Yesterday while we were playing outside Sadie found a dead newborn baby bird. It had the tiniest tuft of downy feathers on its head and back, like an itty bitty mohawk.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: nosha

At first I looked around for the egg, thinking that a hawk or snake or something had grabbed it, cracked the egg and had its meal interrupted, dropping the bird to the ground.

But then hubby pointed out that the bird had probably fallen out of the tree during the previous night’s storms. In other words, it wasn’t an embryonic bird.

It was a mother bird’s dead baby.

Sadie (5) isn’t afraid of anything, dead or alive.

I picked up the bird with a napkin. It was about 2 inches long. I could see its tiny arms and legs folded up, veins under its skin, its large round eyes still under the skin, and beak that it had used to break open the egg.

We inspected it for several minutes. Oddly, it had that fecund scent of a freshly born, wet newborn human baby.

(You know that smell.)

I pointed out to Sadie that it was roughly the size of a 2 month old human baby still inside its mother. That Ruby was once that size in my belly. That she was once that size. And that even then, God knew all about her, and loved her. He knew what she would look like, what her personality would be like.

Before mommy even knew she was pregnant, He knew all about her.

And that Jesus said that his Father knew every single time a bird died and fell to the ground.

Including this one.

And that he loves us even more than that.

I thought about mothers who lose their babies when they are this size. Like my sister. Like many others.

I thought about mothers who lose their babies who are already born. Like this one, whose baby died when a television set fell on him.

Later that day, I decided to draw a bath for me and the baby.

Ruby (11 months) pulled herself up to stand next to the tub. I took off my clothes, and turned around for a SECOND to grab a towel behind me.

When I turned back around, Ruby was IN the tub.

I grabbed her so fast, I don’t remember how she was situated in there. She was wet, but she didn’t choke or cry or gasp for breath. Her face was wet, but I don’t know if she was face down in the water, or not.That’s how fast it happened. And how silent. I don’t remember hearing a splash, even.

The point is, what COULD have happened. If I hadn’t been RIGHT THERE.

Of course, I would never leave a baby or toddler in the bathroom while I was filling the tub.

But what if I HADN’T been there?

We’ve been reminding the kids to close the bathroom door when they leave. Because babies crawl in, open the toilet lid, and fall headfirst into the water. And drown.

I ran to Target this morning to buy toilet locks.

I wonder if the mother bird cried out for her baby?



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4 Responses to Close Calls

  1. Jen Knox says:

    Carrie, how frightening! Isn’t it amazing what small children can do in just a split second?

    I have a fear of kids + water of any kind so I completely understand your impulse to buy toilet latches. Better safe than sorry and I wish more parents were as concerned. People like us who baby proof or get worked up about a close-call are unfortunately considered to be “helicopter parents” by some. I prefer to think of myself as cautious and understanding of the fact that I don’t have control over anything really. All I can do is mitigate risk which I intend to keep doing.

    Great post!

  2. carrie says:

    @Jen, yes it is – especially at this age, when baby is meeting milestones SO FAST that it’s hard as a parent to even keep up. Yesterday, she can’t crawl up a step. Today, she can.

    And even though I’m opposed to helicopter parenting with OLDER kids, I have no problem with babyproofing! Drowning is the #2 cause of death in toddlers.

  3. Emily says:

    Now that DS is finally learning to hold his breath under the water, his playing in the pool makes me much less nervous. I have to admit, though, when it’s been very quiet out in the backyard a little too long, I have to check.

  4. Candi @ Family Stamping and FOOD! says:

    Wow! So scary! Great call for babyproofing. I’m sure it won’t happen again though!

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