It goes without saying, we’d all do absolutely anything to ensure our kids are safe from harm: we’d walk on hot coals, climb the highest mountain, listen to the latest Justin Bieber LP, absolutely anything. But last weekend, I found myself lacking.
My three-year-old son had caught a bug and, as is often the case, it had hit his asthma hard. We kept an eye on him, gave him his inhaler, and put him to bed. The bug (and possibly the extra mucus) had made him sick a couple of times, but he’s a little trooper, and although obviously unwell, seemed happy enough.
My wife and I went about the rest of our night and retired to bed shortly afterwards. We’d kept a baby monitor in my son’s room since he was tiny as we’d thought ”why not?”, we had it, didn’t need it for anything else, so left it in his room for extra peace of mind.
I’m so glad that we did.
Some movement in the bed and an odd sound over the monitor stirred me from a very, VERY deep sleep. My wife dashed out of the door and shouted me enough times that I stumbled out of bed, banged into the doorway as I went, and didn’t really know what was going on.
My son had been choking on his own vomit, and the monitor had picked it up. Where was I? I was half-asleep and as much use as a solar-powered torch. I’d always assumed that if anything like this was to happen, I’d be in red-alert mode straight away, and ready to sort things out. As long as I was around, I’d be able to make sure my family was safe. I’d worry when they were away from me, but otherwise, I was able to control and handle anything that might arise.
But there I was: walking into doorways and still not quite sure if I was still shopping in the garden centre I’d been dreaming about. I didn’t even realise he’d been choking, and just assumed the bug had made him a little sick again.
So why am I OK with this total parenting failure, and realisation I’m not SuperDad after all?
Because I found out I’m married to SuperMum.
Luckily she was already stirring, and jumped out of bed faster than a speeding bullet to get to our son in a situation where every second was crucial. We always joke that while she sweats all the small stuff and I have a reputation for being the relaxed one that talks her round, she’s remarkably calm in any real emergencies. Before Gregory was born, I’d set alight to the kitchen in our old house whilst grilling bacon. As I was running around shouting for everyone to evacuate, Jen calmly walked in, soaked a towel, and smothered the fire.
She was equally as effective here, knowing exactly what to do and taking care of everything just as I’d have liked to have been able to say I had. Gregory was grey by the time he got the hospital, and gave us all a worry, but bounced back exceptionally quickly and is now back to his ebullient best, running around being Captain America, and generally being a bit cheeky.
I know I shouldn’t beat myself up about it. I’ve always been a deep sleeper, and there wasn’t a lot I could do about it. That’s what made it so scary though: that even though I was only across the hall, I hadn’t woken up in time to be any real help. Knowing however, that my mild-mannered (ahem) wife turns into SuperMum whenever duty calls, is a huge relief, and I’ll forever be indebted in mountains of housework to her for saving our son. Thank you!