04 December 2005

this stuff only happens to us

We had an Incident in Barnes & Noble this afternoon, the kind of embarrassing thing that only happens to James, or me, or James and me.

We're looking for Greg, who is browsing while we play with Thomas trains. Knowing how James likes escalators, I suggest we look upstairs. We get to the escalator, I ask if he remembers how to use it, I reach for his hand, and... too late. James steps onto the escalator... with one foot. He's pulled into a split and falls onto the escalator, which is now moving beneath him as he struggles for balance. I'm terrified that he's going to lose a hand or his nose to those nasty jagged teeth on the edge of the escalator steps. So I start trying to pull him to his feet, trying not to get pulled onto the escalator myself, all the while hindered by Evan, who I'm wearing in the sling and who is starting to tilt dangerously backwards. Meanwhile, James is literally screaming.

In one heroic effort, I manage to yank James' arm and stand him up, without Evan toppling from the sling, and we ride the escalator to the second floor, James still crying and sniffling a bit. It all lasted approximately two minutes, but that was a scary two minutes for James and me. Evan seemed totally unperturbed by the whole thing. Upstairs, we determine that James has nothing more serious than a scraped knee. We realize Greg is not upstairs, and take the escalator back down, without incident. Downstairs, we run into Greg, who came searching for us after hearing James' scream from another part of the store. We explain, and Greg laughs at us, which is okay, since now that it's over and James isn't hurt, it's starting to seem pretty funny.

I wondered aloud to Greg that no one near us in the store seemed to react when they heard James screaming. Greg pointed out that anyone else probably assumed he was having a tantrum, which, okay, fair enough, it happens. I guess it annoys me because anyone who bothered to look in the direction of the screams would have seen that we were having trouble, and either no one helped, or no one even looked, which both suck. Are children's tantrums so common that no one takes their screams seriously anymore?

Anyway, we're well despite the trauma. We also got our Christmas tree while we were out shopping, and we decorated it tonight while listening to Christmas music and everything feels very peaceful now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's awful. I'm glad James is okay. It reminds me of something I read of Barbara Kingsolver's about when she had a toddler and people treated her like, since she chose to have the baby then everything that happened to her child was her problem. It seems like a growing attitude, among people without and with their own kids, in this country. I hate to think people saw James in trouble and chose to do nothing, but Americans value independence in the worst and best ways.

-me again