Making the Leap
The following story is unbelievable, but true. As you’ll see, I didn’t have any eye-witnesses, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Pudding and I were cuddling in bed. Two days earlier I’d taken a pregnancy test, and it was positive. She was 20 months old, and had a lot of energy. I knew the pregnancy would be at risk for the first trimester due to complications following Pudding’s birth, so I was trying to take it easy. Spectrummy Daddy brought some tea for me, and milk for Pudding, then kissed us both goodbye as he headed for work. She and I had a play date with a friend later that morning, but we were in no hurry, so I planned on lounging in bed for a little while.
That wasn’t to be, because after a few minutes she got bored and ran out of the room. I put my tea down and went to chase after her, but she slammed the door, and I heard the tell-tale click of a key being turned. We often locked our bedroom door as Pudding had a penchant for going into our room while I was in the bathroom, and pulling everything out of the drawers. The lock was pretty stiff though, and we’d thought she was unable to turn it. That day I learned we were wrong.
I ran to the door anyway and tried it, but of course, it wouldn’t budge. I asked Pudding to turn the key, but she was unable to do it, though she tried. She started pulling on the door handle, and when she couldn’t open it she got upset, and began calling my name. I tried to reassure her, even though I was panicking myself. It was before 8 am, and Spectrummy Daddy wouldn’t return until almost 6 pm. I didn’t have my phone with me. My friend would probably just text if I didn’t show up at the park, she wouldn’t have been too concerned by a no-show. I looked at the door, and there were no visible hinges, even if I’d had a screwdriver in the bedroom, which I didn’t. There was no room under the door even if I could get the key out.
I was trapped.
I decided to get dressed. At least I was locked in my own bedroom, it could have been worse. I sang songs to Pudding to keep her entertained, and close to the door. The safety gate wasn’t closed, and she had access to the entire house, and all the dangers contained in it. The thought of Pudding falling down the stairs, or getting the sharp knives from the kitchen filled me with dread. Staying in the room was not an option.
I had to get out.
I opened the windows and looked for help. There wasn’t a soul in sight. A few minutes passed and I saw a car. I leaned out as far as I could, and waved and screamed…..but the car drove on. I waited a few more minutes, but there was nothing. Pudding was very much in the throes of separation anxiety at the time, and she kept grappling with the door, but every once in a while she’d wander away, and I’d have to beg her to come back to where I could hear that she was safe, even if I couldn’t see it.
I returned to the window. I don’t have a photograph of that side of the house, but we were on the top floor, there was a level below that, and the basement/garage below that. The yellow arrow shows the height of the window, but I’m unable to show you the actual drop. Three floors. I knew that was the only way out, but I felt sick every time I looked at the drop. I’m not scared of heights, but I was pretty sure that leaping out there would mean the end of the pregnancy, and probably a few broken bones too.
The windows were full length, but had a safety rail across, almost like a balcony, but with no room to stand. I put my hands on the bar and willed myself over. I couldn’t do it, I stepped back. Maybe we could wait for somebody to come by, I’d be no use to Pudding anyway if I was hurt and we still had no way of getting back inside. She moved away from the door again, oblivious to my pleas. The street was still empty. I cursed again the logic of housing us in such a quiet place, with nothing but wasteland to the side of us. I knew I’d have to make the leap, but I had to find a way to do it as safely as possible.
I had a brainwave.
I remembered those escape movies, where the prisoner manages to flee from his cell by tying sheets together- I would do that. I put on some shoes, stripped the bed, and knotted the duvet cover to the sheet, then tied it to the bars of the safety rail. It reached down to the ground. It wasn’t much, but it was the best I could muster. There was no way of knowing if it could take my weight. I told Pudding that Mummy was coming, and hoped rather than believed I was telling her the truth.
Then I used the sheets as a rope to abseil down the side of the house!
The sheets held my weight. I still can’t believe that they did (they probably wouldn’t know!). I jumped the last bit, and landed on my feet. There was no time to revel in the safety of solid ground. I raced around to the other side of the basement where there was a small window. I pushed it with force I didn’t know I had, and it swung open. I climbed inside, and ran up to my last hurdle: the door between the basement and the entry level. We usually kept it locked, but we’d forgotten. I almost screamed in relief.
I ran upstairs calling Pudding’s name, and found her still on the other side of the door. We hugged, and I didn’t let go until the pounding of my heart abated. I called Spectrummy Daddy and regaled him with my adventures. Then I had a cup of tea, pulled the sheets back in, removed the key, and got ready for our play date. In spite of a few twists and turns, a healthy Cubby was born 9 months later.
I’m not surprised that he is my cautious child.
Sometimes I feel just as scared that I can’t get to my girl. I have to leap to reach her over, and over again. I haven’t felt solid ground yet, but somehow the sheets are holding me.
If you haven’t seen it already, one of my posts is up today on the SPD Blogger Network. Check it out here.