it is an amazing thing, watching your child learn to stand on his own two feet. it is also drama of high proportion…especially when it gets bloody.

for the past couple of days, Oscar has been standing all by himself. if there’s a surface anywhere that will hold his weight, up he gets, tottering on still-wobbly legs. then he lets go. with a flourish. and he looks around, beaming with pride, and then bounces down flat on his bum.

usually.

but at least once a day, there’s a crash. a face-first, bruising, scratching, mama-wincing, baby-howling kind of crash. and yesterday, there was blood. in his mouth. he and his bookshelf had a face-to-face encounter, and when his little face scrunched up to cry, his mouth opened, and wet, watery blood came drooling out. and i thought i was going to throw up. it wasn’t the blood…i don’t mind the sight of blood, if it’s mine, or yours. but his…wow. it took everything i had just to make myself look inside that little mouth, to see how bad it was. it terrified me. i don’t know if i’m up for this growing up thing.

turns out it was just a fat lip, which matches nicely with the scratch on his forehead, the rug burn on his chin, and the bruise on his cheek. my baby is starting to resemble Rocky.

i try not to cling. not to have my hands hovering somewhere three inches from his eager, excited, independent little self. i catch him when i can, and try to make the environment around him as safe as it can be, but i want to let him learn to fall. i want him to be able to pick himself up without too much wailing and gnashing of teeth (on my part, that is), and dust himself off, and get a hug, and go on with his day. i do not want to bubble-wrap him. much.

but damn…it’s harder than i thought.