Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

Parenting Highs and Lows

Written a few weeks ago

I came home late today, so Anika and Kavi had already eaten dinner and taken their baths. As I drove down the driveway, I could see Kavi’s excited little head poking over the upstairs windowsill. I parked the car and opened the door into the house. I was immediately met a voice screaming, “Daddy, Daddy!” with pure joy in his voice. He ran down the stairs and gave me a huge hug. I just love that. There is nothing better than coming home to such a loving family. It makes all the stress and BS at work melt away.

Then I followed him upstairs and Anika ran over and gave me a big hug and then started “Dancing on the diaper pad!” (Will have to upload a video of that someday). I watched for a few moments and then got up to go change my clothes. She started to get upset, so I held her hand and walked her down the hallway with me. That’s another thing I love. Seeing this sweet little girl with her arm extended as high as she can possibly reach to hold my hand, walking with me, like I’m the most important person in the world, just makes my heart melt. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such love and admiration. I just hope that I can live up to their expectations.

Kavi had a scary episode on Superbowl Sunday. We were just getting ready to go next door for the Superbowl party. I was upstairs with Anika and she had just been getting upset about how she wanted to go downstairs. Kavi and Mommy were downstairs, but they were coming upstairs, so I wanted Anika to stay up here, rather than go down and then come up again. I picked her up and held her in my arms to keep her happy. I heard Kavi start coming up the stairs, and normally I would have opened the baby-gate for him, but this time I didn’t want Anika to see me opening the gate, because I thought she’d start getting upset again, wanting to go downstairs. Instead, I just stood a few feet away from the gate, telling Anika, “See, Kavi’s coming upstairs.” He’s opened the gate hundreds of times and has never had any trouble doing it. This time, however, he opened the gate, lost his balance and the gate started swinging open over the stairs. He held on to the gate and swung with it. He was hanging on tightly and I could see his feet dangling, trying to find a foothold on a step, but since the gate had swung open over the stairs, he was too high to reach the stairs. I vividly saw the fear in his huge eyes and ran to the gate, but by the time I got there, the gate had given way and he was tumbling down the stairs.

Time stopped.

He screamed with the most terrified scream that I’ve ever heard. He initially landed on his feet in the middle of the staircase, but the momentum made him fly down the stairs and his head banged against the far wall. The gate followed close behind and landed on top of him. Anika started screaming in my arms. She instinctively knew that something bad had happened. I initially bent over to put her down at the top of the stairs and then quickly reconsidered, knowing that she would want to come down with me and might fall in the process. I picked her back up and headed down the stairs as Mala raced up from the kitchen. I gave Anika to Mala as I grabbed Kavi and looked him over. He had a tiny scrape on his head, but no bleeding. He seemed to be complaining most about pain in his left arm and shoulder. It reassured me a bit, because I was worried about his head, but then I got worried that maybe he had broken his arm or something. We held him for a while and put ice on his head and shoulders. Anika was tearful watching all of this but calmed down quickly. Then I went upstairs to fix the gate.

Within a few minutes he was bouncing around without any sign that he had fallen. I was so relieved, but I still have visions of his eyes being full of fear as he was hanging from that swinging gate. I know how lucky I am and how lucky we have been, in general. I also know that there will be other scary moments in the future - it’s a part of life. Weathering this admittedly minor mishap took all the strength and fortitude that I could muster. How do people do it? How do people withstand bad things happening to their kids? I just don’t know how people can take so much potential pain.