Monday, October 04, 2010

The worst fear

I read a horrific story today. If you're feeling at all crap or sensitive right now, don't read on.

A friend of a friend found her 3 year old son dead in the washing machine. She was exhausted and lay down for a nap. When she woke up, she panicked when she couldn’t find him. Then she noticed something in the machine and she knew she hadn’t done a wash. First she pulled out the dead body of their family cat. And then her son. She tried to revive him but it was too late. Even more horrifically, she was initially under suspicion for murder but was later cleared by the Australian police.

When I read it I felt sick. I thought about the few times I’d fallen asleep when Jake was up on his own. I inspected our washing machine and thought about all the different things that would have to happen for Jake to lock himself in there. He would first have to turn the knob to the start of a cycle. Then he’d have to press the on button and press it hard. Then he’d have to squeeze himself into the drum. Our machine is quite small, but it could be possible. Then he’d have to pull the door firmly shut. I don’t think Jake would be able to do this with our machine. There’s no handhold that would enable him to pull the door hard enough to shut it from the inside. I cannot imagine what that woman is going through. I can’t imagine that level of grief. Just thinking about whether Jake could possibly hurt himself or worse in this way was bad enough.

Lately, the only way I can get Jake to have a nap is if I pretend to have one too. Usually in a separate room. I can always hear him and will go in to him if he’s up to something. He usually potters about for a bit, for about 20 minutes, then it goes quiet and I come out and find him sleeping somewhere. On the sofa, sitting up in the rocking chair, on the floor. Once I fell asleep unexpectedly and slept for 45 minutes before I woke up, panicked and went downstairs to find him reading quietly on the sofa, beaming at me when I came down the stairs.

Today, I was especially paranoid about every single sound I could hear coming from the living room. Twice I almost mistook distant birdcall for possible snoring and car door slams for the thud of falling. I then heard a lot of rustling and definite Jake snoring. I went downstairs and I couldn’t see him. I could hear him but I couldn’t see him. Then I spotted him. Safe and sound.


Anonymous said...

Oh he's adorable. (I think I say something like that whenever I comment on your posts!)

That story made me feel nauseous too. It's terrifying the potential for grief having children brings to our lives. I think that's part of the reason I'm so wary of having another.


Rosie Tremain said...

that's so cute - it must be terrifying being a parent - that story is so awful it doesn't bear thinking about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures of your lovely little boy :)
Rosie from Newbridge