I am a nervous wreck. I don't think that's too much of an exaggeration. I feel shaky and like I want to cry, but I can't. Maybe I'm in a little bit of shock. (I know, you're thinking, "what NOW?")
For weeks now, the baby gate at the top of the stairs has been making this really annoying and loud "CLINK!" sound whenever I open it. It's right outside Katie's door, too, which makes it even more annoying. I'm pretty sure I woke her up two nights ago when I crept downstairs to use the bathroom. I've tried oiling the hinge, but I think the self-closing mechanism may be wearing out.
We hardly ever close the gate completely anymore. Katie is more than capable of managing the stairs by herself, and she gets really angry if the gate shuts accidentally and she can't get through. She grabs it and rattles it like a crazed gorilla at a zoo. And she roars just as loudly, too. So the gate is mostly there to act as a speed bump - even though it's ajar most of the time, it still takes Katie some careful maneuvering to get through it.
But after I woke her up two nights ago, I decided it was time to remove the gate. Anthony was dubious, but I've seen Katie pause and grab the handrail at numerous staircases when we're out in the world. I really thought she'd be fine. After all, I'm always underestimating what she can handle. I promised Anthony I'd keep an eye on her to see how she was doing.
And I did. Yesterday I took the gate down, and I was on her like glue whenever she went near the stairs. She did absolutely fine. I concluded that she was indeed ready to go gateless. I reveled in the new-found freedom of no baby gates! That thing had been such a nuisance. Of course, I knew we'd have to put it back up once baby #2 starts to crawl, but still! Even 6 months of gate-free living sounded great to me.
This morning, though, it all went sour. While I was downstairs fixing Anthony's lunch and he was upstairs finishing drying off from his shower, Katie decided it would be a lot of fun to ride her princess push car down the stairs. There was an almighty crash, followed by a genuine howl of pain, and Anthony and I were both there in a flash. Thank God the stairs are L-shaped, with 5 at the top and the remaining 10 after the landing. Katie only "drove" down the first five steps. The landing is where we found her, screaming like a banshee and starting to bleed from her nose. Her lip swelled up too, in that now-famous place she always seems to bite it.
It was every bit as bad as the park-bench incident, except now I'm worried that her nose is broken. It didn't bleed that much, just a few drops, but it is starting to bruise across the bridge. It doesn't look crooked or anything, but it's a bit swollen so it's hard to tell. I don't want my little angel to have a permanently crooked nose, or problems breathing, just because I was stupid enough to let this happen. Katie would not let us put any ice on it whatsoever. She wouldn't even let us wipe the blood away until much later, and even then, I've had to sneak a swipe here and there so she won't start screaming again.
I blame myself. I feel so stupid for taking that gate down. I'd rather face a hundred thousand years of gates creaking than put Katie through what happened today. Her face, her sweet little angelic face, looks like she's been in a fistfight! She looks like Rocky Balboa! I'm so sad and ashamed at the same time. And I hate that stupid princess car with a passion. Needless to say, the gate is back up and it's probably going to stay that way until both girls graduate high school. Sigh.
Thanks for reading, I feel a tiny bit calmer for having written this.