The surprise event this week occurred upon opening Judah’s bedroom door one morning and witnessing the little monkey out of his crib and roaming the grasslands aimlessly. When this occurs for the first time for a first time parent the experience is a bit like walking into your bathroom in the middle of the night only to witness a jackrabbit sitting cross-legged on your toilet smoking a pipe. What I’ve determined from this “baby break” experience is that the mind naturally flows through 3 stages all of which occur nearly instantaneously:
1. Shock: The same baby that only 1 year ago was too weak to even lift his head off the ground can now hoist his tiny torso up with his stubby baby arms, maneuver his chest up and over the containment wall, 4 feet off the ground, fling his pudgy baby leg over the side, and pole valt down to the ground fugitive-style.
2. Marvel: Your little fugitive has miraculously not broken, bruised, sprained, smashed, or otherwise injured his tiny baby body upon exit from baby Rikers, if only Rikers had sheets with monkeys playing peek-a-boo in palm trees.
3. Relief: And perhaps the most disturbing of all 3, your realization and sequent bewilderment that there are no oil fires burning and the walls are suspiciously free of feces. Your little person, just released from, in Judah’s case, a 17 month stint, and roaming free for the past 10/30/60 minutes before discovery, has not found a way to ensure your future homelessness.
While scanning the room for broken glass and signs of vomit reflecting what Judah chose to swallow and his stomach rejected, my mind flashed back to a weekend trip we took to NYC with our former bichon frise Oz. Upon returning to the hotel room after dinner, we opened the door expecting to see Oz on the normally forbidden bed, with his dog butt perched on my pillow, giddily licking the most grotesque germs from the hotel remote, with at least 2 puddles of pee soaked into the rug (never stay at a dog-friendly hotel….), our bags miserably dragged across the room, and Oz’s otherwise white fur tie-dyed liver brown from galavanting in his own poop for the better half of 3 hours.
I’m not comparing my son to a dog, but he does put anything and everything in his mouth and, when you spot what he’s done and rush toward him with your face contorted in disgust, he swallows whatever’s in there in a frenzy—regardless of taste, texture, or bowel compatibility—just like a startled drug mule. Which is why, it was beyond comprehension that the room appeared to be entirely unphased by Judah’s presence, as he sat next to his life-size bear that morning calling out his usual morning incantations, “MMMAAAMMMMMMAAAAAA!!!!!!” “DDDDDAAAAADDDAAAAA!!!!!”
Our solution to this first baby break? For now, we’ve turned the crib around so that the back, which is higher than the front, is facing outward, making escape less inviting. We’ve also pinned the crib between a wall and a dresser to prohibit any further fugitive activity, for now, at least, until the jackrabbit asks for bathroom reading material in a Charles Heston voice.