I beleive the first time I determined she had a death wish was many months ago in the grocery store. At the time, she was about 14 months old, which, when you adjust her for her prematurity (something we preemies parents must do until about age 2 1/2), put her at just under a year. Ruthie is an easy kid to keep track of most of the time. She doesn't run away, and doesn't hide under displays. Her worst offense is that sometimes she gets distracted and doesn't follow me when I move, and then panics when she realizes I'm not right next to her. But her shrieks of terror make it easy to realize she's lost sight of me, and we are reunited quickly. So this particular day, Ruthie walked and Helen was riding in the seat of the shopping cart. When we finished our shopping and reached the checkout line, Ruthie walked to the bagging area while I swiped my credit card. "Ma'am, your daughter," came a voice from behind me. I glanced over at Ruthie ,who was standing just where she had been, doing nothing wrong. I assumed the voice was not addressing me. Again, "Ma'am, your daughter." I turned around and the woman pointed to my cart (which was, I might add, right next to me). I turned to find Helen poised halfway out of the cart and halfway onto the conveyor belt. From about mid thigh down, she was still making contact with the seat or side of the cart. But from the waist up, Helen was on the conveyor belt, ready for a ride. One move of the belt (which fortunately had stopped because our groceries were done being rung up), or one slip of the cart's wheels and Helen would have hit the supermarket floor, no doubt catching the cart or any other odd object on he way. I grabbed her, placed her back in the seat and realized that I had neglected to buckle her into the seat. I always buckle her into her seat. I must have been distracted. And Helen, being the observant child, waiting for mommy to slip up, seized the opportunity. And, Helen was off and running, well on her way to complete her mission. I think my life expectancy was shortened by a few years that day.
Helen's other discoveries in the quest include:
- Plunging headfirst into a large tub of ice water while at a neighbor's cookout
- Attempting to scale the butcher block cart in our kitchen using the towel rods and shelves on the side
- Using the bar on the back of the high chair as a makeshift trapeze
- And her most recent, attempting to walk up to her nose into the pool at our gym. The pool is zero-entry, like a beach, so Helen can easily walk around in there. She keeps going in until she is nearly submerged and one of us grabs her. Sometimes she flails and screams and winds up falling under anyway. Mmm...nothing like a big gulp of chlorine water to quench your thirst.