When Dylan started being able to do more than lie helplessly on his back waving his appendages in the air like a grumpy, overturned crab, we pulled his crib away from the wall and away from the wooden blinds that cover the window. I remember doing the same thing with Riley — specifically, I remember the moment when I read a local news story about the death of a baby at a home daycare, a strangling accident involving window blinds, and I remember putting down the newspaper and pulling the crib even further towards the middle of the room, shuddering.

Yesterday morning I heard Dylan grousing around in his bed and since he didn’t sound frantic I took my time going in there, stopping to make coffee first and let the dog out. When I opened his door he did his usual joyous routine of grinning hugely and clapping his hands, but I didn’t even see his happy face: I was too distracted by the electrical cord wrapped around his entire torso.

He’d reached through his crib bars and somehow managed to snag the thin white cord that runs down the wall from the small camera mounted above the window — the video monitor camera that points at his mattress, which we keep on at night until we go to bed. He was hopelessly tangled in the cord, it ran under his arms and around his chest and looped over one curling toe, and he sat there making his weird little R2-D2 bloops and bleeps at me, like, a little help over here?

My imagination needs no encouragement to go skittering down some pretty dark alleyways and I could envision with perfect clarity the horrific alternate outcome of this situation. The blue-faced, silent baby. The cord pulled tight around his neck. His body, twisted with its efforts to get free; the inevitable surrender.

Yes. Well. So. The crib is now in the middle of the damn room, practically. The cord has been secured out of anyone’s reach, even my own. We have all moved on to cheerier topics, except for the part where I keep seeing it, over and over. The cord. The baby. The unspeakable, unlivable possibility of what might have been.

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Naomi the Streange
13 years ago

well what could have been wasn’t. so don’t freak! :)

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

So glad Dylan is okay!

Stuff like that happens to everybody. I remember when my son was real little and just learning how to climb the stairs. I was sitting on the couch and the next thing I saw was Eric tumbling head over feet down the stairs. I don’t think I ever moved faster in my life, I caught him right before he slammed his head off the hardwood floor. I don’t know what would have happened, broken neck/arm/head? Who knows.

samantha jo campen
13 years ago

Um, I’m crying just THINKING about it OH GOD. SO glad he’s okay.

BUT OH GOD.

LJ
LJ
13 years ago

Reading your post took me back to a time almost 16 years ago when my son was just crawling around. He had a little chatty phone on wheels with a cord you could pull it with. The cord got wrapped around his neck – only for a few seconds, but just long enough to scare the shit out of my husband and myself. Of course the phone went in the garbage and any other toy that looked like it could do the same damage. My pain is with you. It does take a while. My son is now 16 and bigger than me!

Brenda
13 years ago

Don’t even go to that place. After raising my 5…. They could have had me committed. One fell in a swimming pool. One fell from a tree…broken arm. One got hit by a bat…it was plastic, but still he got a black eye.

Happy thoughts.

Pocklock
13 years ago

AHH! I’m SO glad he’s okay. The “what might have been” daymares get me too. I find myself freaking out a LOT when I think about things that just could happen. So freaky.

I’m so glad he’s alright.

Amy M.
Amy M.
13 years ago

OMG! How horrifying. I’m glad he’s ok!

We bought the cordless blinds to ensure nobody chokes (at least on those). However, I scared my 2-year-old to death when I screamed upon seeing him trying to eat my strawberry milkshake Philosophy shampoo. Guess I didn’t latch the CHILDSAFE cabinet properly. After my baby was born, my poor toddler has also sampled kibble. I know – great mom!

jonniker
13 years ago

But he didn’t, is the thing. He didn’t! We all dodged what could have been. And here we all are.

(Though I hear you re: blinds. Adam’s coworker lost his nephew that way. He was two. TWO. And he strangled himself on the miniblind cord. I didn’t sleep for weeks and in fact, may never sleep again, seriously.)

Lori
13 years ago

Holy hell, that’s scary!!! We intentionally put the crib on a wall without a window. But, I hung three art canvases right above the crib. You’re reminding me that dangling them on a single nail is probably a recipe for disaster with a grabby baby.

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Oh God. *shudder* I’m so glad this was only a “what if?”.

Something horrible befell a local toddler in her bathtub (I will spare you the nightmare worthy images) and now I cannot use my toddler’s bath time for the ritual ten minute plucking of thick black pregnancy hairs from my chin and ‘stache and- JEEZUS, WHY?- CHEEK, while my toddler splashes around and talks to the plastic fish. Now I sit. And STARE. And will her to stay alive forever and ever and ever.

Jenny
Jenny
13 years ago

My son has also taken the tumble down an entire flight of stairs. I didn’t catch him. I still see it. I love your blog, but I don’t cry easily and even when it moves me it never makes me cry; this one still has me wiping my eyes. I understand, but don’t let it get too deep in. I had visions of what might have happened on those stairs for months, and in fact I continue to.

Ami
Ami
13 years ago

Oh man, how scary! I’m so glad it’s all okay.

Jenny
Jenny
13 years ago

Uh, maybe I should clarify — my son is fine. Just scared the entire life and breath out of me. :)

bessie.viola
13 years ago

Oh Linda, I have chills for you. We had a similar experience the other night involving the AngelCare monitor. I won’t go into details here since I already blogged about it, but man. I’ve been haunted by similar images all week.

Thank God it was no biggie.

Gina
13 years ago

My daughter fell head over heels down the stairs about 4 years ago and I still see it, too. And it still upsets me. Don’t beat yourself up.

Kate
13 years ago

That strangling incident you referred to was an acquaintance of mine. So terribly sad. I cried for days.

Anyway, you can’t focus on “what might have been”. It’ll drive you crazy. There are times I have to forcibly change my train of thought to maintain my sanity. Life is such a high-wire act that ya just can’t look down.

Serenity Now
13 years ago

oh wow – shivers. I was lucky enough to wake up when our kid grabbed the camera cord…I think I was in his room before I even woke up to know what was going on. But I constantly have those “what if” thoughts creeping into my head and it freaks me the hell out. Being a mom is just constant worry and fear sometimes. I’m so glad he’s okay – you touched a nerve here that every single mother out there can relate to.

ashley
13 years ago

I don’t even know what to say, oh my god Linda, I am just so fucking relieved for happy endings.

Mama Ritchie
Mama Ritchie
13 years ago

Ugh. How do you describe that feeling in the pit of your soul when you even think about something harming your child? You verbalize way better than me. But that’s what I’m feeling thinking about your experience with Dylan. We had the same camera with Charlie, mounted on his wall, and one day I came in and he had pulled the camera into his crib. Thank god nothing happened – he spent his time trying to eat the camera part. But then we set up this elaborate system involving many nails and wires zig-zagging the wall way high by the ceiling. It didn’t look great, but he never pulled it down again.

Parenting – not for the weak…

Leeann
13 years ago

Oh honey, I am seeing it with you. I am so glad your baby is OK. Deep breaths.

Teralyne
13 years ago

I also know that scary feeling my son was at my ex-husband’s mother’s house and she let him play with yarn. He fell asleep on the floor and her on the couch when we waited in I saw him hopelessly tangled in the yarn with it around his neck 3 times I totally freaked out and all she said was oh did the baby get tangled up? We never got along after that. I think that began our Ex-ness.

ashley
13 years ago

I still almost pass out every time I think about the time my husband was playing with my baby girl and got her precariously close to the moving ceiling fan. I flipped. Then almost passed out. Then wanted to vomit and cried. Nothing happened, but I can still barely think about it without getting weak in the knees. She’s 3.5 now.

Angella
13 years ago

Oh, I hate this kind of stuff. It makes me so nauseous.

But he’s fine. YOU are fine.

clarabella
clarabella
13 years ago

The EXACT. SAME. THING. happened to me, except it was during nap-time, and I heard him grousing around wrapping himself up in the cord. But I was still haunted for with the whole “what if I hadn’t heard him?” fear. I know exactly how you feel, and I am glad Dylan was fine when you found him.
Unfortunately, which I see you’re experiencing too, when this happened to me, I had a deep-dark “My son is mortal” crying session. But that’s the truth, and we just protect them as well as we can and hope something somewhere in the universe thinks they’re as precious as we do and wants to watch out for them too (or at least, that’s what I do).

Gleemonex
13 years ago

Oh god! I’m so glad it turned out OK. I have dreams about that stuff all the time (two nights ago it involved drowning), and like yours, my imagination needs no encouragement to play vivid Technicolor mini-movies of What Might Happen. I’ve always been a little bit of a What-Iffer, a Disasterist, but since my daughter was born, the needle’s rested pretty solidly on 11, know what I mean? I wonder if it’ll always be like this, for the rest of my life, or if it’ll ease up when she’s an adult.

gertie
gertie
13 years ago

Oh jesus. We just moved our two year old into her toddler bed, and it’s all I can do to not think about all the ways she could injure herself with the toys/furniture/cords in her room. We have everything secured as much as possible, but the mind still wanders…

Add to that the fact that I’m expecting baby #2 any day now, and this one will go straight into daycare at three months (unlike my daughter, who stayed home with dad for the first year and a half) and I’m pretty much a wreck. The “what it…” thoughts can drive you literally insane.

victoria
victoria
13 years ago

Oh, sweetie. I know how haunted you are by that image. I pray that those dark thoughts will depart soon.

Kristy
13 years ago

One time my son pulled a nylon string out of a childs pillow and had it wrapped around his neck and he was trapped up against the side of the crib with the pillow hanging freely down the side. He was still grinning and laughing while being half strangeled. I have never forgotten that morning. The pillow was a childs pillow and he was 22 months old…seemingly old enough for a pillow. I ripped that strong fishing line type nylon string with my bare hands…..he was fine. I took him to the doctors to have them check his neck and they gave him a popsicle. I needed to know he was ok. These things happen….so fast.

jen
jen
13 years ago

Oh seriously, this scares me so much. Carter is just starting to roll from place to place and we have this register with sharp edges (original to the house built in 1963) and this morning I needed to take the dog to her kennel, which would have only taken a minute and I really wanted to leave him to his playing since he is really heavy and squirmy and the kennel is downstairs (which is a recipe for disaster of itself) but I had this flash of him rolling/crashing into the register. So I scooped him up and took him with me.

Hearing your story makes me realize I made the right choice. And I would really be still crying if what happened to you happened to me. So happy for you to not know the other side of the what if.

Melissa
Melissa
13 years ago

Holy crap. Odd because I pulled my son’s crib away from the wall and taped up that exact same wire out of reach last night. I’m going to move it further out of the way now. I find it’s hard to recover from those “almost” bad things when they happen. But hey, you shared it with us and we all learned from it. Which could actually save another child…to put a positive spin on it. :)

SART
13 years ago

Geez, and people wonder why we moms look like shit half the time. Well not you, you look great and I hate you for it. Being a mother has given me more wrinkles, grey hairs and frown/worry lines than I ever thought possible.

I think every parent has a story like this. Mine was watching a 14 week old Nugget fall head first off my very high bed while I ran towards him in slo-mo. I freaked, he freaked and then all was well.

I’m still paranoid as hell and he’s almost 4. I still have the monitor on his room at night, just in case. Can’t wait to see what paranoia bebe #2 is going bring out in me!

Glad little D is ok.

Tara
Tara
13 years ago

So very glad that Dylan is okay. I think we all have a “near-miss” story, and we’ve all had the experience of watching the endless loop of what might have been, but thank God, wasn’t.

My son had his first visit to the ER earlier this year after a large, 1-2 lb. magnet (part of the security system) fell from the top of the daycare doorway onto his head. Even though he had his heavy winter coat on, with the padded hood on his head, the magnet cut his scalp. I shudder to think what the damage would have been if his hood weren’t on–or if he’d been looking up when the magnet fell.

Luckily, those images do pass, just not soon enough. Hugs to you.

Kate
13 years ago

Isn’t that the bitch of parenting? I can’t recall how many times instead of just being unspeakably grateful that the worst didn’t happen (which I always was, just not ONLY) I was also plagued by terror for weeks about what COULD HAVE BEEN, MY GOD. My son got a little enthusiastic with our heavy front door one day when he was about 2, and went flying down the landing and the stairs. I watched almost in slow-motion the way he landed, and I never quite got over thinking “if he’d landed just an inch or two differently, he’d have snapped his neck.”

Super glad Dylan’s saga ended only in looking like a poor robot and an un-feng-shui’ed room.

juliloquy
13 years ago

I think cats aren’t the only creatures with 9 lives. So glad the crisis was averted. Phew.

ElizabethZ
13 years ago

So scary, I know just how you are feeling. When my twin boys were about 1 1/2 they were playing in their pool, it was one of those rectangular blow up pools filled w/ about 8-10 inches of water. Don’t know what I was thinking but I walked across the yard to the patio to get some more pool toys – turned around, Zach was gone. I never ran so fast in my life. I will never forget his puffy cheeked, I am holding my breath, ALIVE face staring up at me as he is laying at the bottom of the pool, just a few inches under but the pool floor surface was too slippery for him to right himself I guess. I have never been so scared or relieved in my life. It took me a LONG time to get over that and not think about it and shudder and shake my head and try to block out the image of what “might have been”. Needless to say, they get out of the pool when I need to walk away from it now or I don’t walk away. And they are 3 – I don’t see myself changing that rule until they are at least, oh I don’t know – driving maybe?

And not to get morbid but just as a reminder, cords are not just a danger to the “babies”. My cousin is a paramedic and a couple years ago responded to a call with a 3 yr old found tangled/strangled in blind cords, to make things even worse for my cousin (she has a young daughter herself), they had gotten her down but then had to “stage” it back up again for the coroner once they arrived, what a nightmare that must have been. Anyway, she had been left home alone (may her parents rot in the fiery pits of hell) so that contributed but is that so very different than putting a child in their toddler/twin bed and closing the door and going to sleep? We have the cordless blinds in the boys’ room for that very reason. I worry about the lamp cord a bit but it is behind the dresser and they don’t see it or mess with it thankfully.

So glad Dillon is ok, so scary, I cried just reading about it. Never forget – it helps you to be careful, but move on. He is AOK. :)

Hotch Potchery
13 years ago

That is awfully scary. I remember letting my kids go stay with my in-laws and my son telling me about finding a gun in a drawer (when he was 7 and asked to take a nap, he snooped). I kept thinking, oh man, with his Power Rangers fascination, I am so thankful he didn’t pick it up…aack.

Katy
Katy
13 years ago

I’m expecting my first child in January – and this ENTIRE post and comment string has got me freaked out. Note to self: no cords in even the remotest reach; crib in middle of room; no plucking eyebrows during bath time; stairs=scary. Ah! I’m so glad Dylan was fine and just gurgling away. Think happy thoughts…

Eve
Eve
13 years ago

Oh good lord. So glad he’s okay.

Stuff like this can really make you go insane if you think about it! But he’s okay and so are you, so try not to keep thinking about it, even if that seems impossible. I’m learning a lesson from you though and moving EVERYTHING away from my babe’s crib today. And she’s still barely rolling. And most nights we still swaddle her. :) But what the hell, no time like the present, right?

Marie Green
13 years ago

*shiver*
I hate it when stuff like that happens! So glad he’s ok.

uccellina
13 years ago

It was scary enough reading your post, but after reading the comments . . . I may never sleep again.

Shutter Bitch
13 years ago

Holy fuck, Sundry. I have no problem in the imagination department either, but somehow I can make myself think happy thoughts before the horrible conclusion plays out on the widescreen in my mind. Usually. If I trip near the top of stairs, I can stop myself before seeing the worst case scenario of that. But you took me there anyway. First I’m envisioning it in your circumstances, and getting choked up because NO! NO HARM TO SUNDRY’S BABIES!!! Then my mind substitutes your child with my own baby girl, only a month older than Dylan, and I had to go to my happy place.

A couple weekends ago, both my kids did individual things that freaked me the fuck out. I was in my daughter’s nursery going through her mountain of clothes and getting rid of small stuff, bringing in the new season/bigger stuff. She was in her crib playing with a stuffed animal, and after awhile, she got bored and started growling and fussing and basically giving me that Angry StayPuft Marshmallow Man look. So I let her out and shut her door to keep her close. A few minutes later, after turning back to the room from a few seconds rooting in her closet, I found her happily gumming the baby monitor that’s on the floor at the foot of her crib. Since it was plugged in, I decided to take it from her before she could chew through a cord or something and found the cord wrapped tightly around her neck. She could breathe, but it was tight. Freaked me the fuck out.

The next day, my husband and I were in our basement discussing something and the baby was upstairs sleeping in her crib and our four year old boy was playing in the living room…so we thought. I gave him an old set of car keys to play with a few days earlier and he took delight in starting his toys, his books, his shoes, and anything else he was pretending was a steering column. While we were talking, my husband heard a circuit trip in the nearby circuit breaker and he raced upstairs to find our son sitting in front of an electrical outlet, keys on the floor, and black scorch marks on his hand. Luckily, the key was coated in rubber, so he wasn’t hurt, and the black was the rubber rubbing off. But FUCK CHILD! He nearly gave me a heart attack! I think we got across to him the seriousness of the situation, because he kept looking at me, putting his soft little hand to my cheek and reassuring me (reassuring ME!!!) that he was fine. I kept touching him to make sure he was okay.

Yeah, I FAIL at parenthood. One kid nearly gets choked WHILE I WAS IN THE ROOM and the other one I let roam randomly all over the place and play with dangerous objects. His Christmas gift? A paring knife.

Hell, I’m just gonna wrap them all in bubble wrap.

Christina
13 years ago

UGH. I am glad nothing happened to Dylan! We never had a cord situation happen but I totally know that whole cannot get it out of your head thing. Our son ran out of Bed Bath and Beyond when he was about 2. The store’s entrance is very close to a busy road way. My husband and I screamed at him to stop which just seemed to speed him up, giggling and running. A car was coming and it was like time stopped in my mind. I just kept replaying what could have happened if we were not quicker or he was not slower. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Martha
Martha
13 years ago

Being a Mom means lots of worries and guilt. I feel for you as the fairly new Mom to a 5 month old boy. Crisis averted – thank God!

Bumbling
13 years ago

Huge bear hug for you. He’s ok. HE IS OK.
Just Breathe.

mixette
mixette
13 years ago

I guess those little moments, the near-miss with the car that runs a red light, the heart-stopping misstep while walking down the stairs, the tangled baby, just serve as little jolting reminders to pay attention. Not in a crazy scared freaked way, just to be more aware of what’s going on around you.

Not fun, but vital, I think as we go about on virtual auto pilot in most of our daily lives.

Thanks for the jolt, and glad mister rosy cheeks is no worse for the wear.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

OMG! My child has this inexplicable LOVE of putting all things CORD-LIKE around his neck. He doesn’t so much wrap them as, well DRAPE them- but it’s still terrifying! He does this with electrical cords, shoe laces, anything he can find… Ugh! I am so glad that you walked in when you did!

Meg
Meg
13 years ago

I, too, have an active and vivid imagination (the downside to being creative writer types of people, I guess), and see the alternatives in my head very well. It’s hard. I understand. I’m so glad everything’s okay!

melanie
13 years ago

I felt totally sick reading this post – thank goodness for happy endings.

Claire
13 years ago

Glad Dylan is ok; I had a moment where Elliot squirmed out of my arms and somehow hit his head on the CONCRETE and all the thoughts rushing through my head then came flooding back as I read you post. Being a mom takes years off your life in mere seconds, doesn’t it?

MRW
MRW
13 years ago

I just about had a heart attack the other day involving my son attempting to climb a very low guard rail on the roof of a 16 story building. I don’t think the word “No!” has ever left my mouth so quickly or forcefully. I’m pretty sure I scared the bejesus out of my son too, and that’s fine by me. I never want him to do anything like that again. The “what ifs” kept me awake for quite awhile that night.